Parents of Epileptic 2-Year-Old Upset Over N.J. Medical Marijuana Delays

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Meghan and Brian Wilson of Scotch Plains, N.J., have been waiting patiently for medical marijuana to become available for their 2-year-old daughter Vivian, “Vivie,” who suffers from a rare and severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome.

Inquirer staff writer Jan Hefler recently reported on Vivie’s story.

Vivie has had 20 hospitalizations in all, and sometimes her convulsions can last up to an hour. In February, the state issued Vivie a wallet-size medical marijuana card.

Gov. Chris Christie inherited the medical marijuana law three years ago and promised strict regulations. When he was asked about Vivie’s case by reporters last month, he said he was “not inclined to allow” medical marijuana for kids.

As a minor, Vivie had to get consent from three doctors. Cannabis could alleviate her seizures, and unlike barbiturates, it will not kill brain cells. However, there is only one dispensary in the state, and it will not sell to the Wilsons. They will have to wait for a dispensary in central New Jersey to receive its permit to grow marijuana.

Vivie’s neurologist, Orrin Devinsky, supports her using marijuana “given the severity of her epilepsy.” Devinsky is the director of New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and the St. Barnabas Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Livingston.

Her mother said doctors in the state’s marijuana program do not seem to understand there are kids who qualify for treatment. She said she called 20 doctors before one would certify Vivie as a patient.

The Wilsons, who also have a 4-year-old daughter, say they considered moving out of the state, but they are lifelong New Jerseyans.