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Medical Marijuana For N.J. Children? It’s All In Gov. Christie’s Hands

Parents Struggle To Help Kids; Doc: 'It's A Medical Decision, Not A Legal One'

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SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – It’s legal and it could save the lives of some very sick kids.

This week, some New Jersey parents declared victory when a bill passed the state Legislature making it easier to get medical marijuana – for kids.

Little Vivian Wilson is just 2 years old, but for her entire life she’s been suffering from Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

“It’s been an absolute roller coaster. We started off with a healthy second baby. Two months later she had her first seizure,” mother Meghan Wilson said.

Now, her parents said, she has multiple seizures every day, seizures so severe she has to wear an eye patch and glasses to lessen the effect of triggers, like bright lights and patterns.

Her parents said they have tried dozens of treatments, with little luck.

“Her seizures did not respond to traditional rescue medications, so we were always calling 911,” her mother said.

So, Meghan and Brian Wilson said they started talking to parents of other Dravet Syndrome kids, particularly in Colorado and California.

They learned medical marijuana might be the answer. And while it is legal in New Jersey, getting the right kind for kids is difficult.

“The type of marijuana that these children need is not going to get them high,” Brian Wilson said.

The problem is it isn’t easy for parents to get their kids the strains of marijuana they need at the dispensary in Montclair, N.J., the only one in the entire state. The law is very strict about what can be administered and even requires three different doctors to sign off on the prescriptions for their kids.

“We had to make a bunch of phone calls and we pretty much had the door shut in our faces all over the place,” Brian Wilson said.

Adults only need one prescriber, and kids need strains of marijuana with less THC — the ingredient that gets people “high” — and more of something called “CBD.”

Pediatrician Dr. Laura Popper said restrictions for kids should be eased.

“It’s a medical decision, not a legal one,” Dr. Popper said. “If it works and it’s controlled within a medical environment, I have no problem with it at all.”

The New Jersey Legislature has just passed a bill that would allow kids to take marijuana in different forms — like pills or oils — and only one prescriber would be necessary.

However, Gov. Chris Christie still needs to sign the bill.

“I would love every child in New Jersey who is resistant to traditional medications to be able to get this,” Meghan Wilson said.

“She would be able to start living a life again,” Brian Wilson added.

It would be a chance at a semi-normal life for a 2-year-old who has barely had the chance to live.

Gov. Christie has 45 days to sign the bill easing medical marijuana restrictions for kids. He did not respond to CBS 2’s request for comment.

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