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article imageGovernor Christie Signs Controversial 'Pot-for-Tots' Bill

By Nekima Levy-Pounds     Sep 12, 2013 in Health
Earlier this week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that eases access to edible marijuana for sick children.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey law signed into law a bill this week that will make it easier for sick children to obtain access to edible medical marijuana. The bill was signed in the wake of mounting political pressure from some legislators, advocates, and the parents of two-year-old New Jersey resident, Vivian Wilson, who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a potentially deadly condition that causes severe seizures. Traditional, anti-seizure medication is ineffective at treating this condition.
The legislation, nicknamed 'pot-for-tots', requires signatures from at least two physicians, including a registered pediatrician and a psychiatrist before a prescription for marijuana for a minor is authorized. In cases in which either a pediatrician or psychiatrist is not registered for the medical marijuana program, the signature of a third doctor would also be required. Although proponents in the New Jersey legislature pushed for the need for only one doctor to authorize a prescription for minors, Governor Christie did not agree to the proposal and insisted that at least two doctors need agree. He maintained that his number one priority in requiring such procedural safeguards in the legislation is for the protection of children.
The bill also states that parents are required to receive information about the potential harms children could face by ingesting marijuana. Earlier this summer, Governor Christie raised concerns about reports of increased emergency room visits of children in Colorado due to ingestion of marijuana.
Under the new legislation, any strain of marijuana may now be cultivated for medicinal purposes in authorized dispensaries, as opposed to just three strains that were previously allowed under New Jersey law. A rare strain of marijuana found in Colorado has been known to reduce symptoms of seizures in children, which would presumably become accessible to Vivian Wilson in the near future, now that the the new law has taken effect. Currently, one dispensary is in operation in New Jersey with a second set to open later this year.
More about Medical Marijuana, Governor chris christie, Vivian Wilson
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