Medical Marijuana for Kids Could Pit Parents Against Pediatricians

By Andrew Kitchenman
According to current state law, any doctor who wants to prescribe medical marijuana to a child must have a pediatrician and a psychiatrist vet his decision. That’s a particularly daunting challenge in New Jersey, where only two pediatricians have registered with the state’s nascent medical marijuana program.
That challenge could be eased significantly by a bill now advancing in the Legislature: (S-2842/A-4241 would require that children be treated the same as adults when being considered for medical marijuana.
As might be expected, the bill has sparked off considerable controversy in New Jersey’s medical community. What’s more, Gov. Chris Christie has indicated his skepticism toward allowing children to receive the substance in general and has asked state health officials to review the current regulations.
But for at least one parent, medical marijuana could ease the pain and suffering of her son.
Hope resident Jennie Stormes advocated for the change in the law on behalf of Jackson Stormes, a 14 year old who has used marijuana to reduce the symptoms of Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
She said the substance has reduced the intensity and duration of her son’s seizures, after years of unsuccessful approaches such as brain surgery.
“The additional doctor appointments for a child who has failed so many medications, brain surgery, and other treatments are cruel and the cost is burdensome for a single mother who is working more than one job without any child support,” said Stormes, a pediatric nurse.
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