New Jersey Governor Expands State Medical Marijuana Program
On July 2, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill called the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. Its main provisions increase the number of illnesses that make someone eligible to participate in the program and the amount that can be dispensed at one time from two to three ounces, allow for home delivery and dispensation by certain nurses and physician assistants (and not just doctors), create new categories of and additional cultivators, dispensaries, and manufacturers, and increase each patient’s individual supply from 90 days to one year.
The law also takes management of the program away from the state health department and instead hands it over to a five-member commission (the “Cannabis Regulatory Commission”) and phases out the sales tax on the product. New Jersey’s medical marijuana program currently has an estimated 50,000 patient participants in it.
What It Does
Some of the additional key provisions of the legislation also:
- Add additional illnesses that allow someone to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana, such as cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, intractable skeletal muscular spasticity, opioid-use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and seizure disorder; while also leaving open the possibility of adding additional illnesses;
- Reduce the number of times a patient has to visit a doctor for their prescription from four times to ounce per year;
- Allow for patients with terminal illnesses to have no real limits on the amount that they can obtain each month;
- Allow certain facilities such as nursing homes to purchase marijuana for patients;
- Allow New Jersey program participants to purchase medical marijuana out-of-state for a limited time (however, note that visiting patients cannot purchase marijuana at state dispensaries); and
- Mandate that a certain percentage of associated businesses be owned by minorities and women.
New Jersey’s previous medical program set a strict purchasing limit, which left a number of patients reliant on the product running out halfway through the month. In fact, the legislation was named after medical marijuana patient Jake Honig, who relied on cannabis oil as a result of suffering from brain cancer, but who had to rely on morphine and opioids each month when his medical marijuana supply reached the legal limit. These stronger drugs reportedly caused him to suffer from serious side effects.
Contact Our New Jersey Criminal & Drug Defense Attorneys
It remains to be seen how exactly the law is going to be implemented and what legal complications will occur for those rightfully participating in the program. As a result, a number of individuals could end up with drug charges. If you have been accused of a marijuana-based crime, contact our experienced New City criminal defense attorneys at the office of Phillip J. Murphy today to find out how we can help.