Gov. Murphy Signs Bill Expanding Medical Marijuana Program in New Jersey

New Jersey expanded its medical marijuana program, including increasing the number of illnesses eligible for cannabis use, boosting the amount that can be dispensed and raising the number of cultivators permits, under a broad new law. Gov. Phil Murphy, signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law on Tuesday.

The law is named after a 7-year-old who died early last year after battling brain cancer. His parents, Mike and Janet Honig, have fought for easier access to cannabis to ease pain during illnesses.
The measure makes a number of changes. It increases the limit that can be dispensed from 2 ounces to 3 ounces for 18 months after the law goes into effect, with a commission the measure establishes setting the limit afterward.

New Jersey’s new medical cannabis law puts in place a number of changes designed to increase licenses and patient access.

For example, the measure:
• Creates individual cultivation, manufacturing and dispensary permits and also increases the number of cultivation permits. To date, only 12 vertically integrated licenses have been issued.
• Phases out the state’s 6.625% MMJ sales tax over three years.
• Establishes a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission to oversee the state’s MMJ program, removing it from the state Department of Health.
• Allows physician assistants and advanced-practice nurses to recommend medical cannabis. State law previously allowed only doctors to make recommendations.

The bill was originally attached to legislation to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, in part to try to ensure votes for the more controversial measure. It wound up being advanced separately as a standalone bill after the recreational use bill failed to garner enough support in the Senate, and the expansion was overwhelmingly approved by both legislative chambers last month.