FREEHOLD – Jake Honig’s Law, which expands medical marijuana use in the state, was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.
The bill was named after a young boy from Howell nicknamed “The Tank” who fought a losing battle with brain cancer. His family became strong advocates of medical marijuana since it alleviated his pain. The problem was that New Jersey’s strict law prevented the family from getting more than two ounces a month of it for someone his age.
The governor Tweeted “Today I was proud to sign the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law, honoring Jake The Tank’s life by expanding medical marijuana access for patients. We must continue to expand access to this life-changing medical treatment.”
The Facebook page dedicated to Jake praised the bill: “Thank you to everyone who took part in making this one of the strongest medical marijuana bills in the country. We are proud to be part of a bill that will directly impact tens of thousands of patients.”
They listed the parameters of the bill:
- Patients will be able to receive 3 ounces per month, which may be increased again in 18 months.
- Patients with life-threatening illness will have no limits. “Fear of running out of medicine is over.”
- Patients can receive a 12-month prescription for enough medicine to last a year, increased from the current 90-day allotment.
- Alternative Treatment Centers can now make home delivery of medical cannabis.
- Tax on medical cannabis will be decreased every year and completely eliminated by 2022.
The medical component was one of three marijuana-related bills that were being discussed in Trenton. One would legalize recreational use of the drug. Another would expunge people’s records of some marijuana possession charges. At one point, they were banded together. Critics of Murphy said the three bills were connected because the recreational bill would not have enough votes without the more popular medicinal and expungement bills connected to it.
According to a representative for the state Democrats, the recreational bill did not get posted because there are not enough votes. The expungement bill was approved by the legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature.