Yup, Chris Christie Just Said He’ll Approve Medical Marijuana for Children (With Some Stipulations)

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announces a partnership between Cooper University Health Care and MD Anderson Cancer Center during a press conference at the State House in Trenton, N.J. Monday, June 10, 2013. 
National Journal
Brian Resnick
Aug. 16, 2013, 12:07 p.m.

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.

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