In the last 18 months, New Jersey has added more than 30,000 patients to its medical marijuana program. If you or someone you love is one of them, you’re undoubtedly celebrating the recent signing of Jake’s Law.
Need a catch-up? Here’s the basic story:
As of 2010, NJ’s medicinal marijuana law has restricted patients to a two ounce monthly purchasing limit. (And FYI, for many patients with chronic pain to manage, two ounces doesn’t cut it.) There were other challenges too, like the requirement of four doctor’s visits per year to maintain, a valid prescription and limited access to in-state medical marijuana providers.
This month, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill to expand medicinal marijuana laws for the state. These long-overdue changes present an optimistic outlook for those who rally across our nation for increased access to quality cannabis.
A bit on Jake
Jake’s Law, as you may have guessed, was indeed named after a medical cannabis patient. Jake Honig was a little boy from Howell, NJ, who began his five-year battle with cancer at age two.
Near the end of his life, members of our Curaleaf NJ team were working with the state to attempt to override the legal purchase limit in circumstances like his. Then, it just wasn’t possible. While Jake passed away before the restrictions were lifted, his story inspired the advocacy that has led to today’s new reality: There is no longer a purchase limit of medical cannabis for terminally ill patients in New Jersey.
But, that’s not all. Other new implementations include:
- The monthly patient purchase restrictions have been increased from 2 ounces to 3 ounces, with possibilities for further increases after 18 months, on a case-by-case basis.
- Previously, a patient had to visit their doctor every 90 days to maintain program eligibility. As of July 18th, 2019, a physician in the Medical Marijuana Program will be able to authorize patients for up to 360 days. That’s one visit per year as opposed to four!
What else will change?
With Jake’s Law, the following adjustments to NJ’s Medical Marijuana Program will be rolled out, one by one, over the next several months:
- Access to more medical marijuana providers! As of now, there are only six. That number is expected to quadruple.
- Care facilities (like hospice centers and nursing homes) will gain the rights to purchase cannabis on behalf of qualifying patients.
- Home delivery will become an option.
- The 6.625% sales tax on cannabis purchase will be completely removed by 2022.
- Nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be able to write medical cannabis recommendations.
At Curaleaf, it’s our mission to increase patient access to affordable, quality cannabis. We know cannabis has the power to improve lives, and we’re elated to see NJ’s cannabis law reform headed in this positive direction. We’ll continue to update this link as changes are implemented, so keep it bookmarked to stay in the loop.
There’s still a massive amount of work to be done in terms of cannabis advocacy and accessibility, yet Jake’s Law deserves three big cheers in the name of progress!