SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Restored hope arrived in Trenton yesterday for the family of Vivian Wilson, the 2-year-old Scotch Plains toddler with Dravet Syndrome, a severe and drug-resistant form of epilepsy.
Vivian's family has been seeking a non-psychoactive strain of medical marijuana that’s high in a chemical compound called CBD and has proven effective treatment for Dravet sufferers in states like California and Colorado. However, existing New Jersey State laws, and federal laws have impeded Vivian's access to CBD marijuana treatment to date. Vivian has carried a medical marijuana card since February of this year.
By a vote of 55-13-8, a bill was passed in the Assembly and now rests in the hands of Governor Chris Christie to sign it into state law. The revised state law would remove some existing medical marijuana accessibility and treatment restrictions for children like Vivian.
Governor Christie stated several weeks ago at a press conference in Lavalette that he was, “not inclined to allow (minors) to have it.” Christie also stated that he would have the health commissioner look at it and report back to him.
The current state law requires minors to have two additional doctor referrals, besides the treating physician, to approve marijuana treatment. It also restricts dispensaries from growing more than three strains of marijuana.
If passed, the new law would allow for doctor approval to be the same as adult treatment approval, but with parental consent and involving a treating doctor with a “bona-fide physician-patient relationship.” Meaning, no less than four patient visits over the course of a year and after a careful review of the patient’s medical history and physical examination. It would also allow New Jersey dispensaries to grow more than three strains at a time.
The revised law also would enable marijuana treatment to be dispensed in edible forms like capsules and tinctures – a treatment form that is more practical for young children.
“Any parent would give the world to provide their child relief from the unimaginable pain and agony of chronic seizures that this young girl has had to live with,” Assemblywoman Linda Stender said in a press release last week.
“Marijuana could provide a form of relief that would be life-changing for Vivian and her family. That was intended to be the essence of our Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana law. As a state, we should not stand in the way of that… this is the compassionate thing to do and the right thing to do,” said Stender.
Vivian Wilson’s mother, Meghan Wilson, told reporters that Assemblywoman Stender brought her and another New Jersey Dravet mom and nurse, Jennie Stormes, over to Governor Christie’s office after the vote on Monday night. Governor Christie was not available for comment, but sent an assistant to talk with both mothers.