ASSEMBLY DEMOCRAT-SPONSORED BILL EXPANDING NJ MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM, INCREASING ACCESS FOR NJ PATIENTS ADVANCES

Legislation Bolstered to Provide Support to Medical Needs of More NJ Residents, Broadens Regulation & Strengthens Job Creation and Business Opportunities in the State

Legislation to improve access to medical marijuana for more New Jersey patients who could benefit now heads to the Senate for further consideration. The full Assembly approved the measure 65-5-6.

The measure is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Joseph Danielsen, Eliana Pintor Marin, Andrew Zwicker, Eric Houghtaling and Carol Murphy.

“I am proud to see the legislature moved to provide patients with access to proven effective treatments based on medicinal marijuana,” said Downey (D-Monmouth).  “Movement of this legislation is in honor of residents who are suffering from a life-threatening medical condition and looking for viable medical answers to improve their quality.”

The bill (A-10-3740-3437) would establish the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to oversee the implementation and regulation of medical cannabis in the state. Among the commission’s directives will be to expand access to medical marijuana for patients with a diagnosed medical condition; regulate the cultivation, wholesale and dispensary businesses aspects; develop a new category of designated caregiver for patients who require assistance such as seniors; and broaden the list of approved forms for medical cannabis.

“Any step that removes the many bureaucratic hurdles a patient and their families have to jump through to get access to the medicine they need is a step in the right direction,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex, Somerset). “Now the medicinal marijuana program can begin to meet the current demand for this type of treatment where in the past they were rendered incapable and ineffective under previous unfairly, strict regulations. This is the way to go for New Jersey improving access and supporting the access with opportunity.”

“This legislation will impact New Jersey residents in two significant ways. We’re helping patients gain access to new treatments that will help them to live better with an illness,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “And, through the expansion of the medical marijuana program, we’re creating new opportunities for business and career growth in a burgeoning industry.”

“Once enacted, this legislation will provide patients with another treatment modality which can give them relief from debilitating symptoms as a result of their medical conditions,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon).  “New Jersey will be taking a significant step forward in how we improve patients’ quality of life and treat the symptoms of severe and chronic illnesses.”

“Too many restrictions have weakened this program and patients have suffered for it for way too long. Medical marijuana has proven to be an effective treatment for some medical conditions,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “The goal here was to really help people who are dealing with life-changing, long-term medical conditions.  We have to make this treatment even more accessible and more versatile- to help residents live their best lives for themselves and their families.”

“We want to put patients and doctors back in charge of a patient’s medical care plan,” said Murphy (D-Burlington). “These are the reasonable changes to the current system we need to make patient care and their individual needs a priority and support them wherever they are in their lives.”