New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday signed a bill to include major changes in the state’s medical marijuana program.
The bill named Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act will lead to the expansion of the program through the following additions/changes:
- Patients will now be able to buy 3 ounces of marijuana every month, one ounce more than the previous limit. Terminally ill patients though will be allowed expanded access, thus there is no set limit for them.
- Jake’s law will also permit physician assistants and some nurse practitioners to write recommendations for medical marijuana. Presently, only physicians are allowed to prescribe the drug.
- Registered patients from other states too will be allowed to possess medical marijuana. However, the bill does not allow visiting patients to buy cannabis at dispensaries licensed by the state, a fact that is regarded as a ‘huge’ flaw in the legislation by many active marijuana activists including Carly Wolf, a state policies coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
- 24 new licenses will be issued to various medical marijuana providers on a regional basis.
- The bill will end the tax charged on medical marijuana purchases by 2022. Patients currently pay 6.625% sales tax.
- Municipalities will no longer be able to impose more than 2% tax on businesses.
- Under the bill, 15% of licenses will go to minorities and 15% to women, veterans and disabled people.
- Home delivery will also be permitted
The law has been named after late Jake Honig, a young boy from Howell, New Jersey who lost his life last year to Ewing Sarcoma (a type of tumor).
Jake’s parents used cannabis oil to ease his pain near the end of his 6-year-long battle with the condition. However, when they ran out of the permitted monthly supply, Jake had to be given morphine and other powerful opioid medicines. After Jake’s death, his parents started advocating for improvements in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, pressing Murphy and legislators for change.