Chris Christie sends medical marijuana bill back to State Legislature

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, August 16, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sent back to the State Legislature Friday a medical marijuana bill that would expand options for patients seeking the drug as well as make it easier for kids to qualify for the program.

In sending Senate Bill 2842 back, the Republican noted that he would sign the bill if the Legislature would make edible forms of marijuana available only to qualified minors and that both a pediatrician and a psychiatrist would be required to sign off on a child’s prescription.

“While many will disagree with the decision to allow minors access to marijuana, even for serious illnesses, parents should remain empowered to make a choice based on their own reflections, study, and physician consultation,” Christie said in his response to the legislature.

The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is already legal in the Garden State. This bill would eliminate the limit on the number of marijuana strains the state’s dispensaries can cultivate, thus making it more likely that they will have the specific strains that certain patients need. It would also simplify the application process for minors by only requiring them to obtain a letter of support from either the prescribing physician, a pediatrician or a psychiatrist proving that they would benefit from taking the drug. Currently they need a letter from all three to apply. The bill also legalizes edible forms of marijuana; currently only dry-leaf and lozenge options are legal.

His decision comes just two days after the father of a 2-year-old girl with a severe form of epilepsy begged the governor to pass the bill.

“Please don’t let my daughter die, governor,” New Jersey resident Brian Wilson pleaded on Wednesday.

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