TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie has signed a law changing details of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program with the aim of getting sick children forms of the drug that could help them.
Christie signed the bill Tuesday, a day after his revised version was adopted by the state Assembly.
The bill ends a restriction on legal dispensaries that had allowed them to grow only three strains of marijuana. It also allows them to produce pot in an edible form, but only for sale to children with qualifying conditions.
Lawmakers had also voted to get rid of the requirement that children get at least two doctors to approve their use of the drug. But Christie used a conditional veto to eliminate that change.
Both chambers of the Legislature accepted Christie’s revised bill.
“I’m pleased the legislature accepted my recommendations so that suffering children can get the treatment they need.” Christie said. “I’ve said all along that protection of our children remains my utmost concern, and this new law will help sick kids access the program while also keeping in place appropriate safeguards. Parents, not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children, and this law advances that important principle.”
The measure was inspired by families who said their children with severe epilepsy would benefit from using certain types of marijuana. They said the cap of three strains that can be grown by each dispensary made it unlikely that those types of marijuana would be produced legally in the state.
Advocates say being allowed to grow more strains makes it more likely that other patients — besides children — will also be able to get the variety of pot most likely to help their conditions.