On Friday New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided he would agree to a medical marijuana bill that would enlarge options for patients. He’s been going back and forth about allowing one of the main options which is giving children marijuana.
Christie said he would accept Bill S2842 as long as it met certain criterion. The required condition is that the patient must fall below a certain age. Christie needs the bill to clearly state that it would only be given to minors. As it stands now this bill would include edible marijuana for qualified patients. It’s already available in dry-leaf and lozenge, but now it would also be available for children.
Christie also said he doesn’t want a doctor, alone, to qualify children for the program. He wants a two-fold approval; one from a pediatrician and another from a psychiatrist. He believes the treatment can be helpful but wants to secure the process to acquire the edible medicinal marijuana.
The edible version would help ease concerned parents; the other available options aren’t suitable for small children. This type would be restricted to qualified children only.
The New Jersey Governor’s main concern is making it too easy for people to acquire marijuana. He doesn’t want to expand the program so much that it becomes easy for people to obtain the drug. By adding these stipulations, Christie hopes to lessen its access.
With the use of any drug the potential for abuse comes into play. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who initially didn’t support the use of medicinal marijuana, has done a great deal of research and which has changed his mind. Gupta has stated that marijuana does not have a high potential for abuse and sometimes this drug is the only thing that helps.
Christie announced on Friday that he was making a commonsense recommendation to the policy that will allow seriously ill children to receive the treatment they need in keeping with their parents preference. All while having appropriate boundaries in place. He wanted to reiterate that he feels it’s best that parents are the best source to decide how to care for their kids.
Currently, only eight medical conditions are approved for marijuana use. Not to mention the obvious concerns that surround the early developmental stages of children. Christie has stated that the children’s protection is most important and he feels for children and their families who are forced to suffer through serious sicknesses.
The father of an epileptic little girl, who says the bill would make it easier for his daughter to get help, played a role in Christie’s decision to strongly review the bill. He has made several public pleas for the Governor to help and not let his daughter die.
Christie has expressed great concern about this drug in times past and has clarified that he does not intend to legalize marijuana in the state of New Jersey. Even though many disagree with the restraints, Christie will only support the bill if it maintains the requirement of both doctor and psychiatrist.
New Jersey won’t be the first by far; currently 19 other states allow medical marijuana. For a long time the use of marijuana was heavily frowned upon but for many the frown has turned upside down as it relates to medical usage.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)