August 15th, 2013
11:01 AM ET
8 months ago

Christie confronted over medical marijuana bill

Updated 8/15/2013 at 11:35 a.m. ET

(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.

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.

Father of sick girl to Gov. Christie: Legalize medical marijuana for kids

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."

Christie has in the past expressed trepidation about marijuana. "I am not going to turn New Jersey into Colorado and California. I'm not legalizing marijuana in New Jersey," he said in July.

As for children, Christie said he was "very reluctant."

In separate remarks, Christie said that for the medical marijuana bill, "I'm concerned about expanding the program and I want to make sure that if we do it we do it in a way that is helpful to children," Christie said.

Christie worried about going "down the slippery slope of broadening a program and making it easier to get marijuana that wouldn't necessarily go to other people."

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.

Why I changed my mind on weed

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."


Filed under: Chris Christie
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    As someone who has epilepsy, I can tell you that the struggle to find medication that works is a long, daunting and frustrating task. If this is what it takes to decrease seizures for this girl and others like her, then legalize it. Giving people a shot at having a productive life is worth expanding an existing law.

    August 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Data Driven

    Sheesh, Christie, was it entirely necessary to lecture the guy about simplicity and complexity? It's only "complex" for YOU, goombah. Give the man a straight answer.

    Tony Soprano lives!

    August 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. ed mccool

    Now we'll see just how self-absorbed with national ambition this governor is...please let the interest of the children and their families take precedence over one man's political ambition....

    August 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Wake up People!

    I just read about this same kind of case last week. The little girl was having 300 seizures a day!! Once her family got her on marijuana therapy her seizures dropped to 1 a day. IMO, there is nothing to think about. Do it Porky or are your dreams of cruising into the WH worth more than this childs life?

    August 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Gurgy

    Does he know there are a whole lot of medicines using that substance....

    August 15, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Deej59

    Christie wasn't being condescending when he said "simple for you". It IS simple for us. I'm a medicinal marijuana patient and I don't want to hear about legal snafus in this area because I just want my meds and I don't want the government messing with it. Without it the pain is too much. That's where this family is coming from, too, but Christie has a real problem on his hands. There aren't enough studies to tell us yet whether there are effective versions of the meds that won't stunt the mental development of a person under 25. Weed does that. It's just about the only bad thing the studies say it does. So Christie isn't just dragging his feet, he's been waiting for a study or two to say there's a form that won't harm kids in any way. On top of that - and I realize this shouldn't be a problem in a perfect world - he will feel the wrath of the extreme right the second he signs it. But Christie has already shown he does things his way, not the GOP way, so we'll see.

    August 15, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Christi should support the bill to help the child after all who really cares about pot anymore and this is medical pot and other states have approved its use,let the poor little girl use the drug that's available!!!

    August 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Larry in Houston

    Christy is just procrastinating, is all . . . he'll go ahead & do it . . . he's the most "moderate" (or the only republican that at least is towards middle ground) that's out there . . . ( If you want to call him a moderate) I think the reason he's not going to change from Republican to Dem, is b/c It's would be very difficult for him, to run & win the W H – in 2016

    August 15, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    People have no concept of what will happen if any mind altering drug, is legalized. No concept whatsoever.

    August 15, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Wake up People!

    Tom Paine my heart goes out to you my friend.

    August 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. emskadittle

    Its funny that republicans are for the government in our personal business, Send more cops

    August 15, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. ghostwriter

    Rick, mind altering drugs are legal already. But how about the body altering drugs like cigarettes?

    August 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |