Advocates Show Mixed Feelings About Christie Action on Medical Marijuana Bill

NEW JERSEY: One of the state’s leading advocates for medical marijuana had mixed feelings Friday about Gov. Chris Christie’s handling of the bill that will permit minors access to the drug to treat severe conditions.

Ken Wolski of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana said he was glad that Christie moved to lift restrictions on the number of strains that alternative treatment centers would be able to grow and that children will be able to ingest it in edible form.

But he decried what he called the continued over-bureaucracy of the program.

Christie, in amending the bill and sending it back to the Legislature, kept in place the regulation that a parent must get a psychiatrist or a pediatrician who is registered with the program to sign off as well as the doctor involved in the case.

“We still think it’s not right to put added conditions on minors,’’ Wolski said.

He said forcing parents to get concurrence from another professional will be a problem in many instances.

“It will be a stumbling block parents will have to maneuver around,’’ said Wolski, because since less than 1 percent of the physicians in the state have signed up to participate in medical marijuana overall it follows that extremely few pediatricians and psychiatrists are going to participate in the effort to get such treatment for minors.

“It’s bureaucratic-top heavy, but we are glad the limit on strains has been lifted,” he said.

In his message accompanying the amended bill, Christie said that medical review and doctor sign-off before entering the program should be maintained.


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