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Governor Evasive over Signing Bill That Could Help Scotch Plains Toddler

Mindy Scarlett

Thursday, August 15, 2013 • 9:56am

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Governor Chris Christie made a campaign stop in Scotch Plains on Wednesday to pick up the endorsement of Mayor Kevin Glover and to meet local businesses and residents.  However, he was greeted by pink signs and cries of “talk to Brian Wilson” in support of the Governor signing into law a new medical marijuana bill.

In a press release sent out on Wednesday, Assemblywoman Linda Stender urged the Governor to put “policy before politics” and sit down with the Wilson’s and have a real discussion. 

What they got instead was a hurried, 90-second conversation in the middle of the Highlander, when Brian Wilson put himself in the Governor’s path and initiated contact.  The Governor said that he had all the information and would make a decision on Friday.

Brian Wilson’s 2-year-old daughter Vivian suffers from a catastrophic, drug-resistant form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome (DS).  While there is hope from a new form of therapy using a specific type of medical marijuana (MMJ), the restrictive laws of New Jersey make it impossible for Vivian to get what she needs, even though she has an MMJ card.

According to Vivian’s mother Megan, even if the type of MMJ was available, Vivian still wouldn’t be able to receive the medication because the current law prohibits the sale of edibles and the 2 ounces per month purchase limit is not enough plant material for them to make the tincture themselves.

Stender had co-sponsored bill (A-4241) that would require that minors be subject to the same requirements as adults to participate in the state's medical marijuana program. The measure is intended to remove barriers to treatment faced by children such as Vivian who had her first seizure at two months old.  The legislation has been sitting on Christie’s desk since June 24 when the Assembly granted final legislative approval.

Supporters had organized yesterday’s demonstration to shine a light on the fact that Governor Christie has refused to meet with them personally and to highlight that this was not an experimental therapy, but one that had a proven track record as evidenced by a documentary on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta showing a similar situation in Colorado with amazing results.

Brian Wilson was very disappointed with the hurried response he got from the Governor but hopes that he will “do the right thing.”  Wilson acknowledges that this is a complicated issue and while his encounter didn’t go as well as he would have liked, there is still hope that the bill will be signed into law.

“I don’t blame these families for being hurt and offended that the Governor would take the time to come here for a political event when they cannot get a response from him on this critical policy issue affecting their children, “said Assemblywoman Stender   “This legislation has been sitting on his desk for over 50 days while these families plead for relief for their children, not knowing whether he’ll even sign the bill or not.”

“I can only hope that a few more days will give him the clarity he needs to do the right thing,” concluded Brian Wilson.

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