- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
- Detroit porch shooting trial: Suspect says he didn’t know gun was loaded
- U.S. Navy admiral ‘receptive’ to giving Chinese counterpart a tour of carrier
- Islamic State orders female genital mutilation for Mosul girls, U.N. says
Christie willing to consider medical pot changes
Question of the Day
FAIRFIELD, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that he is willing to consider further changes to help New Jersey children with a rare form of epilepsy access medical marijuana after legal changes he approved last year did not make it available to them.
He said he may be willing to require dispensaries to supply the appropriate strain but remains unwilling to consider legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana.
“I’m open to making those changes but what I fear is that a lot of people use really tragic circumstances as an excuse to say, ‘Let’s legalize,’” he said. “I’ve got to walk that line and I’m going to try to walk that line with you.”
He made the concession at a town hall meeting when he was confronted by the mother of a 15-month-old girl who died in December after a seizure caused by Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy that is rare and often fatal.
Paula Joana said afterward that her daughter, Sabina Rose Joana, would still be alive if a certain strain of marijuana were available in edible form in New Jersey. She said that it controls seizures in a way that pharmaceutical drugs do not.
None of the state’s three legal dispensaries have it. Christie said he believes that is because the demand is so low that the dispensaries - technically nonprofits -would not make money producing it. He said that is a reason he would prefer the drug be made available only through hospitals.
Medical marijuana advocates have pushed Christie for more access for years.
Just before he took office, predecessor Jon Corzine signed a law allowing medical marijuana in the state. It took nearly three years before the first dispensary in New Jersey was open.
Last year, the parents of another little girl with Dravet became leaders in a push to allow edible forms of cannabis for kids with conditions that qualified them to use the drug under the state’s law and to end a restriction that allowed each dispensary to grow only three strains. Christie agreed to that, but he did not agree to the other item Brian and Meghan Wilson asked for: access to the drug with fewer doctor approvals for children.
When Christie made the changes last year, he indicated he was reluctant to go farther than that.
The Wilson’s, with their daughter, Vivian, have since moved to Colorado, where a low-THC form of marijuana given to children with Dravet is available in an edible form.
And Sabina Rose Joana has become the new face of the issue.
Her mother has called Christie’s office frequently but had not spoken with him directly until Wednesday.
Ken Wolski, director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, said Wednesday that he is glad to hear Christie say that the changes made last year have not worked, but he remains skeptical that the governor will take action that will help patients.
“We’re looking for some program that works,” he said.
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Astronaut shares 'saddest photo' from space: Bombs bursting over Israel, Gaza
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare enrollees faking for freebies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq