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Nj Introduces Bill To Help Children W/ Mm


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New Jersey Introduces New Bill to Help Children in Need Gain Access to Medical Marijuana

 

On Thursday, a Union County New Jersey Senator introduced a bill that would make it more straightforward for sick children who qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program to get access to their medicine.

 

The bill would eliminate the requirement that three physicians– a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, and a pediatrician– recommend and approve the use of medical marijuana by the minor in order for their parents to be able to  get the medicine for them.  At this time, no psychiatrists have registered with the state to participate in the medical marijuana program, which has left parents of children who could benefit from medical marijuana stuck.

 

The new legislation was brought about after Senator Nicholas Scutari heard the story of Vivian Wilson, a 2-year-old who suffer from a severe form of epilepsy.  The Wilsons enrolled Vivian in the medical marijuana program in February and received her card from the Health Department, but they were unable to get her medical marijuana because they could not find a psychiatrist to support her medical marijuana use.  The Wilsons asked lawmakers to make an exception for Vivian and other seriously ill children who are not helped by traditional pharmaceuticals.

 

Scutari told the press, “It was never our intent for the state’s medical marijuana program to be so restrictive that a child who is suffering and in desperate need of relief from a debilitating condition could not get access to care.  This measure will eliminate unnecessary restrictions created by state regulations to better ensure that the Wilson family – and others facing similar circumstances – can get their children the compassionate care they deserve.”

 

Assemblywoman Linda Stender plans to sponsor an Assembly version of the bill.

 

Despite lawmakers’ efforts, it is unclear whether Governor Chris Christie would sign such a bill into law.  During a press meeting after the Wilsons asked for help, Christie stated, “I want New Jersey to be a compassionate state.  And for people who this is your only option to get pain relief, for those who are terminally ill and chronically ill, we’ve authorized it.  But I am not going to allow New Jersey to become a California or a Colorado where someone can fake a headache and get a bag of pot on every corner.  So I’m very concerned, if we go down this slope of allowing minors to use this, where it ends.  So I’ll have the health commissioner look at it, report back to me, but I don’t want to mislead people either, I’m not inclined to let them have it.”

In addition to eliminating the three physician approval for children, the bill would also allow for different kinds of edibles to be sold throughout the state’s dispensaries.  Currently, only lozenges are allowed.

 

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