Christie Has Extra Time to Weigh Cannabis for Tots Bill

A new bill that would amend the state's medical marijuana law to make it easier for severely sick children, like Vivian Wilson, 2 (left), to use medical marijuana has passed the legislature. It's now up to Gov. Christie to decide whether to sign it into law.

The deadline for Gov. Christie to sign or veto a bill that would make it easier for tots to use medical marijuana has been pushed back 11 days, to Aug. 19.  Christie has said he has misgivings, but advocates say severely ill children can benefit from the drug.  The euphoric ingredient that produces a high would be removed from the drug before it is given to the children.

The issue spiked last week when the parents of two-year-old Vivian Wilson dropped off 2,100 petitions from supporters that ask the governor to sign the bill.  The Scotch Plains girl has a severe type of epilepsy that triggers daily seizures that have not responded to barbituates and other prescribed narcotics.

Vivian's neurologist believes the child should have the opportunity to try cannabis to see if she gets the same results other parents of children with epilepsy are reporting in other states.  The bill would lift a restriction that bans cannabis from being sold in an edible form.  Vivian's parents say they don't want her to smoke and would rather put a cannabis tincture, or oil, into butter to give it to her as medicine.

Christie's reaction has been that he wants New Jersey to have stringent regulations so that "potheads" don't get access to the drug. He has said that allowing children to have medical marijuana would be going down "a slippery slope" even though state law permits it. 

After the legislature passed the bill, the governor initially was given 45 days to sign or veto the bill, S-2842, or until Aug. 8.   But Jennifer Scortino, the deputy communications director of the Democratic Assembly Majority Office, said the deadline changed when the Senate cancelled its Aug. 8 session and rescheduled it for Aug. 19.  Under the rules, she said, the governor typically has 45 days, but if the house in which the bill was originated is off that day, the governor is given "until they're back in session." 

There's still no word as to what the governor will do - even with the extra time.