New Jersey Assembly approves medical marijuana changes

September 10, 2013 7:43:26 AM PDT
The Assembly has approved a major change to New Jersey's fledgling medical marijuana program, passing a revised bill that would allow dispensaries to grow and sell more than three varieties of pot to patients and provide the drug in an edible form to children.

The measure approved Monday reflects changes made last month by Gov. Chris Christie in a conditional veto of a bigger changes approved by the Legislature in June.

The revised bill has now been passed by both chambers of the Legislature and now heads back to Christie's desk for final approval.

The measure was inspired by families who said their children with severe epilepsy would benefit from using certain types of marijuana. They said the cap of three strains that can be grown by each dispensary made it unlikely that those types of marijuana would be produced legally in the state.

Advocates say being allowed to grow more strains makes it more likely that other patients - besides children - will also be able to get the variety of pot most likely to help their conditions. Some forms can ease pain or nausea while others can reduce convulsions or stoke appetites.

The bill also allows edible forms of marijuana to be sold, but only for the use of children.

The biggest change Christie made through his conditional veto was striking a provision that would have eliminated a requirement that at least two doctors sign off before children can have access to medical cannabis.