TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas P. Scutari to amend the state’s medical marijuana law in order to promote access to children with severe illnesses was approved today by the committee. Senator Scutari was the prime sponsor of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, which was signed into law in 2010.
The Senator introduced the bill in response to efforts by a Union County couple to obtain what could be life-saving treatment for their 2-year-old daughter, who is suffering from Dravet syndrome, a severe and rare form of epilepsy that anti-seizure medicine does not control. Marijuana has been helpful in preventing most seizures in a number of children with the illness in Colorado and California, according to The Star-Ledger which first reported the family’s story. The senator’s bill 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 2-year-old Vivian Wilson, who had her first seizure at two months old.
“Our medical marijuana law was crafted with the intent to help ease the suffering of our residents caused by these kinds of debilitating conditions. That this family, which has received a recommendation from a doctor, is unable to obtain care for their child is unacceptable,” said Senator Scutari (D-Union). “We have to ensure that our program is not so restrictive that those who are eligible, and have received a referral to participate, are prevented from getting the treatment they deserve. That includes children who have been inflicted with a debilitating medical condition, or any illness that is covered by our law.”