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Christie confronted over medical marijuana bill

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Posted at 1:18 PM, Aug 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-15 13:18:25-04

By CNN’s Bryan Koenig

(CNN) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told a desperate father Wednesday that he will decide by Friday whether or not to sign a medical marijuana bill that would make a version of the drug available to the man’s epileptic daughter.

The bill, S2842, was passed by the state assembly June 24 with a large majority in the Democratically-controlled legislature, 55-13, but Christie has so far not said whether or not he will sign it. The measure would expand to children the medical marijuana access already in place for adults.

According to WCBS-TV New York, Brian Wilson is the father of two year-old Vivian, who suffers a version of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. Normal epilepsy medications have so far failed to work for Vivian and her family believes medical marijuana may be able to help.

Trying to get an answer on the bill but unable to get a meeting with the governor, Wilson and members of his family crashed a small Christie campaign stop at a local diner in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. They beseeched the governor to sign the bill and allow for a version of medical marijuana to be administered to Vivian and other children like her.

“I was wondering what the holdup was, it’s been like two months now,” Wilson said to Christie.

Christie responded that while the decision may be simple for Wilson, it’s not as simple for the Republican governor. Christie is thought to be a major contender for his party’s 2016 nomination for president.

“These are complicated issues,” Christie told Wilson.

“I know you think it’s simple and it’s not.”

The Wilson family and their supporters have a website setup called Letters for Vivian where they urge people to write Christie and ask him to support the measure. The letter says that the type of medical marijuana they want for Vivian has no “high,” with far less THC than in recreational marijuana. THC is the active ingredient that gets people high.

According to the letter, Vivian has been signed up for medical marijuana but because of her age, she “has not received any medication due to New Jersey’s overreaching and unsafe restrictions” on the medical marijuana program.

Opinions on the use of marijuana, particularly for medical purposes, have shifted in the United States in recent years, with a growing chorus that it should be made available by prescription.

For his part, Christie promised a response on the medical marijuana bill soon. “I’ll have a decision by Friday,” he said to Wilson. “I wish for the best for you, your daughter and your family and I’m going do what I think is best for the people of the state.”

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