Chris Christie Iffy About Medical Pot for Minors
MMJ is now legal in New Jersey, including for minors, but Gov. Christie says it's a "slippery slope."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may have approved medical marijuana, but he says he is "not inclined to allow" children to use the drug for medical purposes. "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 allow them to have it," he said at a press conference on Monday. "[Christie's] simply concerned about the public policy implications of minors having access to legal marijuana," said Michael Drewniak, Christie's spokesman. "He views it as a slippery slope where we need to be very careful, though he understands where the regulations currently stand." The comments were a response to a question concerning Vivian Wilson, a toddler from Scotch Plains, NJ with a severe and rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Currently, patients under the age of 18 are allowed to participate in the state's medical marijuana program, but only with the approval of a pediatrician, a prescribing physician, and a psychiatrist. Vivian's parents, Brian and Meghan Wilson, are still seeking a psychiatrist's approval before they can get medical pot for their daughter, who they say cannot be helped with traditional medication. "People just don't like to hear about marijuana and kids," said Vivian's father. "It kills me when people say, 'Oh, we don't know the side effects and it kills brain cells.' Well, she's already killed brain cells on these [prescription] drugs. The seizure have killed brain cells."
Governor Christie has been accused of attempting to "sabotage" the state's medical marijuana program, but he said he is willing to move forward. "I want New Jersey to be a compassionate state," he said Monday, "and for people who this is your only option to get pain relief, for those who are terminally ill, [and] are chronically ill, we've authorized it." New Jersey is the 14th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, but Christie has been cautious about ensuring that only the "truly sick and suffering" have access to legal marijuana. "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," he said. "So I'm very concerned, if we go down this slope of allowing minors to use this, where it ends."