POLITICS: PennAve

Chris Christie conditionally approves medical marijuana for kids

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Steve Contorno,New Jersey,Health Care,Chris Christie,PennAve,FDA,Marijuana

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie agreed Friday to expand the availability of medicinal marijuana to children, ending nearly two months of speculation on how the Republican leader and potential presidential contender would decide the dicey issue.

But Christie’s approval of state legislation that would give chronically ill children access to ingestible cannabis includes a conditional veto that requires lawmakers to approve two key changes before the bill can become law. Under Christie’s veto, a psychiatrist and pediatrician must approve the marijuana prescription for the child, and a third doctor would be required to sign off if either the psychiatrist or pediatrician is not registered with the state’s medical marijuana program, according to the Associated Press

Still, it’s a considerable concession from Christie, who while campaigning in 2009 said he opposed New Jersey’s medical marijuana law even though he was supportive of the concept.

As I have repeatedly noted, I believe that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children,” Christie said in a statement. “I am making commonsense recommendations to this legislation to ensure sick children receive the treatment their parents prefer, while maintaining appropriate safeguards. I am calling on the legislature to reconvene quickly and address these issues so that children in need can get the treatment they need.”

Christie, a former prosecutor who opposed decriminalization efforts in his state, delayed action on the legislation for nearly two months. He agreed to make the decision by Friday after he was confronted at a public event by several activists and parents of chronically ill children who could be treated with marijuana.

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