It’s a bit cynical to say, but we’ll say it anyway: There’s nothing like a sick child to fast-track a government response to a medical issue. Take the June fight over whether a little girl should have been put on a list for an adult lung transplant. The parents sued the government, and right away, there was a strong response against the secretary of Health and Human Services’ stance that she would not interfere. A court ruled in favor of the parents, and the child got the lung.
Now, a sick child has instigated a change in the rules on medical marijuana in New Jersey.
On Friday, Republican Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed (or for the glass-half-full people, conditionally approved) a bill that will make it easier for sick children to get pot. As the Associated Press reports, he stipulates that a psychiatrist and a pediatrician have to both agree that marijuana is the best course of action for the child.
Earlier in the week, Brian Wilson, the father of a 2-year-old who suffers daily seizures, confronted Christie on the issue, pleading to him, “Please don’t let my daughter die, Governor.”
There’s some indication that medical marijuana can be helpful in treating the form of epilepsy the child has. Parents obviously want all available options on the table for their sick kids, but current medical-marijuana rules in New Jersey make it very difficult for children to participate, requiring three written letters from doctors. The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill to include children about a month and a half ago. Until Friday, though, the governor had not indicated how he would act on it.
Christie now sends his stipulations back to the Legislature. He says he will sign it if they agree to his pediatrician and psychiatrist sign-off stipulation, and if edible pot is only available to children, not to the larger medical-marijuana-user population.