Wilson was disappointed with his encounter with the governor, who was making a campaign stop Wednesday to pick up the endorsement from Scotch Plains Democratic Mayor Kevin Glover. Christie was noncommittal about whether he'd sign the bill, but said he would have an answer by Friday.
The Wilson family has made headlines for seeking medical marijuana for Vivian who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that causes her violent and frequent seizures. A non-psychoactive strain of marijuana has proven effective at reducing seizures for children with Dravet in states like Colorado.
Though Vivian is a card-carrying medical marijuana patient in NJ, the Wilsons aren't able to get the specific strain of marijuana they need (one with more cannabidiol than high-producing THC) due to a limitation that dispensaries sell no more than three strains of marijuana. They're also limited by a state ban on edible marijuana products, as that's how most child patients take the drug.
Many supporters of the Wilsons came out for the governor's visit, holding bright pink signs encouraging him to sign the bill and to talk with Brian. Brian waited inside the Highlander Restaurant for Christie to come through and then confronted him.
“Do you believe the government should get in between doctors and their patients?” Wilson asked the governor. “Is this a nanny state?”
"These are complicated issues," Christie said. "I know you think it's simple. It's simple for you; it's not simple for me. I've read everything that you've put in front of me, and I'll have a decision by Friday. I wish the best for you, your daughter and your family. I'm going to do what I think is best for the people of the state, all the people of the state."
“Please don’t let my daughter die, Governor,” Wilson shouted as Christie turned away. “Please don’t let my daughter die.”
Christie has until Aug. 19 to sign or veto the bill. Wilson expressed concern that Fridays are the days Christie is known to veto bills.
"I was really hoping it
would be much more of a civil discourse, but he kind of just started out as with the same noncommittal, just not saying anything, and then he tried to turn away
from me so I needed to just confront him," Wilson told Patch after Christie left.
"I pretty much feel a little dissatisfied, disappointed, but at least I got face-to-face with him. ... All information is out there, all the proof is out there, success stories are out there, all the phenomenally working programs are out there – it’s really not a complicated issue. It’s not a complicated decision. His answer just kind of told me he doesn’t want to think about it, doesn’t want to be part of it and really doesn’t care about it."
NJ Assemblywoman and sponsor of the bill Linda Stender (D) shared Wilson's disappointment.
“I don’t blame these families for being hurt and offended that the Governor would take the time to come here for a political event when they cannot get a response from him on this critical policy issue affecting their children," said Stender. “This legislation has been sitting on his desk for over 50 days while these families plead for relief for their children, not knowing whether he’ll even sign the bill or not."
Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover also took a moment to chat with Wilson and said he would like to sit and meet with him before giving his opinion on the bill.
The Wilson's say their fight was also bolstered this week when celeb doctor Sanjay Gupta's documentary on marijuana aired on CNN on Sunday. The show featured a Colorado family with a 5-year-old daughter, Charlotte Figi, who also suffers from Dravet syndrome and whose seizures rendered her nearly catatonic before she was treated with medical marijuana.
"I think the Figi's story was portrayed well," Meghan Wilson told Patch Sunday night. "I hope Christie or his aides watched and now understand the severity of Vivian's epilepsy and what we live through every day."