Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a medical marijuana bill today, but eased regulations to allow severely ill children to participate. Brian Wilson, whose daughter Vivian is ill and could use medical marijuana, has been pushing for the bill to pass. He even pleaded with the governor to sign the bill. Wilson told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he was angered by Christie’s conditional veto, though he’s happy Vivian will be able to get the medical marijuana she needs.
“Even though there’s some important victories in there, the changes and the conditions that he’s added are worse than what we would’ve thought. It really just goes to making the program inaccessible and dangerous for people,” Wilson said. “Especially reading the press release that he added, they took everything that we threw at them and tried to reverse it on us, so it was kind of a slap in the face but at least we can go forward. It’s kind of a victory, but it’s a sad victory.”
The conditions include that the edible form of medical marijuana will be restricted only to minors and that a pediatrician and psychiatrist must sign off on the prescription. Wilson called the psychiatrist requirement “highly offensive,” saying it’s a roadblock to getting necessary medication. “What other medicine do we need to get multiple doctors signing off on? You can get opiates, you can get methamphetamines. Hundreds of children, or thousands of children are prescribed methamphetamines for ADHD every day and they only need one doctor,” he said. “This is a medicine. It should be treated as such.”
While Wilson is pleased that his daughter will be able to ingest the edible form of medical marijuana, he said adults are now going to be forced to smoke it. “One thing everyone likes to point out is that that’s supposed to be dangerous and non-healthy to smoke marijuana. That’s debatable, but they’re now forcing the adults, the only way they can do it is to smoke it. I don’t understand the logic in that,” he said.
Vivian will be able to get the medical marijuana she needs, according to Wilson, but he said his family wasn’t just fighting for her. “There are other children in the state, there are a lot of other adults,” he said. “We also were fighting for everybody else. It’s not just one person. We care about everybody. We’re compassionate people. And I’m upset that the governor threw everybody else to the wind.”
Earlier this week, Wilson pleaded with Christie not to let his daughter die. With today’s decision, Wilson said Vivian will be able to get medical marijuana, but it will probably take a year for the regulations to go through. “It’s taking a small step forward. And she will be able to get what she needs but it’s at the loss of trying to improve the program for everybody,” he said.