New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie agreed to give chronically ill children easier access to medical marijuana, but he refused to go as far as state lawmakers wanted and conditionally vetoed the bill.
In giving lawmakers much of what they sought, Christie agreed to provisions allowing marijuana cultivators to produce more than three strains of the drug, and to sell edible products that children would be able to consume, according to NJ.com.
However, Christie struck a part of the bill that would have dropped a requirement that a psychiatrist and pediatrician sign off before children are allowed medical marijuana. He said he wanted to keep in some safeguards for young patients.
“I believe that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children,” Christie noted in his conditional veto of the bill. “Protection of our children remains my utmost concern, and my heart goes out to those children and their families who are suffering with serious illnesses."
Philly.com reports that the bill now goes back to the Legislature. If lawmakers make the changes Christie requested, it will become law. It was not immediately clear when lawmakers may take it up, but the New Jersey Senate does have a voting session scheduled for Monday.
The bill attracted broader attention this week when Brian Wilson confronted Christie during a campaign stop. Wilson believes his 2-year-old daughter, Vivian, would benefit by using a certain form and strain of pot for Dravet syndrome, a rare and sometimes deadly form of epilepsy.
The changes Christie is willing to make could enable children like Vivian to get the form and strain of pot that could help them by lifting limits on how many strains of marijuana dispensaries can grow and by allowing ingestible forms that kids could take without smoking.
At this time, New Jersey has only one operating legal dispensary with a second expected to open next month.