TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Parents and supporters of children with severe epilepsy and other conditions that they think marijuana would help have submitted more than 2,000 letters asking Gov. Chris Christie to ease access to medical cannabis for them.
They dropped off the letters at Christie’s office Thursday. Some of the children joined them.
Christie, who was out of town, has one week to decide whether to sign, veto or conditionally veto a bill adopted by lawmakers in June that would make it easier for children with certain medical conditions to get pot.
Christie has hinted that he won’t sign the bill as it’s written.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
Advocates for medical marijuana on Thursday are planning to deliver thousands of letters to Gov. Chris Christie’s office pleading that he signs a bill that would ease access to the drug for children with certain medical conditions.
But Christie suggested on a radio show Wednesday night that he may not sign the bill as it is, partially out of fears that people other than the children cleared to use it wouldn’t be the only ones who do.
“I know parents are concerned about the health of their children,” Christie said Wednesday on TownSquare Media. “I have to be concerned about the health of every child.”
Christie said he’s reviewing the bill.
He has until Aug. 8 to take action, by signing it, vetoing it or issuing a conditional veto that sends it back to lawmakers with instructions on what changes they could make that he would find acceptable.
While parents and other advocates intend to make a splash Thursday by hand-delivering their appeal, they likely won’t see the governor himself. He’s scheduled to be at a meeting in Nevada.
The Legislature passed the measure in June after hearing about the plight of a Scotch Plains girl with severe epilepsy whose parents had not been able to find a psychiatrist to sign a consent form to get her access to medical marijuana.
The bill would eliminate the need for written consent from a pediatrician and psychiatrist to be eligible. It also would allow legal dispensaries to produce pot in an edible form.
New Jersey adopted the law to allow medical marijuana in 2010, but since then only one dispensary has opened, and it’s been closed much of the summer due to low supplies. A second operation is planning to open in September.