Earlier this week New Jersey punted a bill that would have legalized cannabis in the state, postponing it to a referendum in 2020. However, many cannabis proponents cheered at the decision. So, what gives?

It turns out, now that recreational weed is dead for the moment it’s going to give the state’s medical marijuana measure a chance to live. For years medical marijuana advocates have been putting together a bill to reform what they perceive as the Garden State’s stifling medical marijuana program.

Among its restrictions, the current program puts a two-ounce per month limit on patients, which many argue is not enough. More advocates rallied around the cause when the case of Jake Honig, a seven-year-old with a rare form of brain cancer made headlines.

Though Jake was able to treat his illness with medical marijuana, his parents said that prescribed monthly supply was not enough, and in January of 2018 Jake died from his cancer.

The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (Jake’s Act) would increase patient’s monthly supplies and allow patients in hospice care to receive an unlimited amount.

The bill would also knock down a particularly prohibitive part of the current MMJ policy in New Jersey, which is that it only allows for the sale of cannabis flowers. Patients or their caretakers have to perform their own homestyle extraction, often over stove tops with cooking oil. Under Jake’s Act, MMJ providers could sell oils, edibles, and tinctures.

All that sounded really good, and it had the support of New Jersey voters. But then somehow a bill to legalize recreational cannabis got attached to Jake’s Act, which could have made its prospects significantly dimmer.

That’s why many MMJ advocates were relieved when State Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that legislature was splitting the recreational and medical bills, pushing recreation to 2020 and fast-tracking Jake’s Act. According to the Asbury Park Press, the statehouse vote on the medical cannabis measure is “expected to be hassle-free.”

Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily

Natalie