Nightly News   |  August 17, 2013

Is medical marijuana OK for children?

Some parents want the drug legalized and say it’s helped their children immensely. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with a controversial medical issue, prescribing medical marijuana for children. parents who believe their sick kids would be helped by the drug won a partial victory this week in new jersey. governor chris christie was forced to deal with the issue very publicly. our report tonight from nbc's michelle franzen .

>> reporter: in sanwood, new jersey, one family's hope after governor chris christie agreed to expand the medical marijuana program that could ease access to mare 1 for 2-year-old vivian wilson.

>> i'm very happy for the decision.

>> reporter: she suffers from epileptic seizures . her mom megan received word on vacation that her daughter may get the help she needs.

>> it's absolutely a step forward.

>> reporter: using a conditional veto, christie modified the bill to allow more varieties of the marijuana plant to be produced for medical needs, including edible marijuana for children. but parents of qualifying minors will need the approval of two doctors, a pediatrician and a psychiatrist, one who must be enrolled in the state's program.

>> i wish for the best for you, your daughter and your family.

>> reporter: christie 's decision came two days after vivian's father brian confronted christie on the campaign trail.

>> new jersey could join more than a dozen other states that allow children to be treated with medical marijuana , a controversial and oftentimes last-ditch option for parents.

>> he was having 60 to 250 seizures a day.

>> reporter: in colorado, 10-year-old saturdjackson has been taking medical marijuana for his epileptic seizures . his mom says after a year of treatment he's seizure-free.

>> it's saving his life and giving him a better quality of life .

>> the type of medicinal marijuana we're talking about for children is not the kind of marijuana that gets people stoned. this can now be grown and synthesized to take out the chemical that makes people high but increase the chemical that works in the brain to reduce problems like seizures.

>> reporter: not all doctors, including the american academy of pediatrics , are on board with this remedy.

>> it's not enough just to believe that something is going to be a good medication. you really need to test it.

>> reporter: for families like the jacksons, the proof is already right in front of them. michelle franzen , nbc news, new york.