NJ Senate OKs Easier Child Access to Medical Marijuana

A New Jersey family says they believe getting their child medical marijuana will help with her epilepsy

The New Jersey Senate approved a bill Thursday that would give children with certain medical conditions easier access to medical marijuana.

The Assembly budget committee also advanced the measure to the full chamber.

The bill would eliminate the need for written consent from a pediatrician and a psychiatrist for juveniles to be eligible.

It would also allow treatment centers to produce an unlimited number of strains, and for marijuana to be produced in an edible form, which is now banned.

The bill was drafted in response to the plight of a Scotch Plains girl with severe epilepsy, whose parents had not been able to find a psychiatrist to sign a consent form.

The 2-year-old toddler, Vivian Wilson, is forced to stay inside most of the time, and wear an eye patch, glasses and hat when she does go outside. 

"She's very pattern sensitive," her mother Meghan Wilson told NBC 4 New York. "Looking at this couch, she'll start staring at it and finding a pattern. She'll become transfixed and her head will start bobbing around." 

Wilson and her husband Brian say medical marijuana has worked with other kids with the same condition.

"I'm talking about one little girl in Colorado going from having hundreds of seizures a week to now being off all her pharmaceutical medications and having about three seizures a week," said Meghan Wilson. 

Some medical professionals acknowledge a problem but say eliminating regulations is not an answer.

New Jersey's medical marijuana program, signed into law in 2010, has gotten off to a slow start. Just one dispensary is open and a second was issued a state growing permit earlier this month but is not expected to open until September.

The state's proposed budget would double the funding for the program to allow for more money to be available for the creation of more treatment centers.

-- Checkey Beckford contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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