Just like the Jersey shore attracts droves of tourists over the summer months, the medical marijuana program in the Garden State is soon to open its doors to patients from out of the state.
As a result of the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, those people visiting New Jersey from out of state with a medical marijuana card issued in their own state will be able to carry and use up to three ounces of cannabis for their medical condition. According to Veriheal, they will need approval from a registered and licensed doctor in the state to purchase medical marijuana in New Jersey from various companies.
Breaking the law
The only other option would be to break the law by transporting it over state lines or by purchasing it illegally on the black market, neither of which is a good idea. This breaks federal laws and is technically classified as drug trafficking, which can result in a five-year prison sentence.
The move to protect the rights of out of state visitors will put New Jersey in rare company, as only seven states (at the time of writing) allow users of medical marijuana from other states to carry their medicine.
What’s the current law?
The medical cannabis law in New Jersey, and any protections it includes, only applies to residents. This is the same as the neighboring states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York. There are an estimated 51,000 registered patients in the state of New Jersey and over 2,000,000 across the entirety of the United States.
The Honig Act
If the state of New Jersey was to legalize cannabis, then visitors from out of state wouldn’t need any further protection from the authorities. As well as increasing the amount of cannabis for patients, the Honig Act would: legalize all edible forms of medicinal cannabis for adults; remove the need for a physician to have a genuine relationship with the patient before enrolling them in the program; allow marijuana to be delivered to the homes of patients over 21 years old; establish a Cannabis Regulatory Commission to act as license giver to new dispensaries; and, allow dispensaries to have outdoor areas where patients can consume cannabis.
The Act has been passed in both the Senate and the Assembly with a significant amount of support. It was signed and made into law by Governor Murphy on 16 July 2023.
The new law is named after New Jersey resident Jake Honig who died due to rare brain cancer at the age of seven. Before his passing, Jake used medical marijuana in order to help manage the systems of cancer. Nevertheless, as the law at the time only allows for a maximum of two ounces, it was unable to provide Jake with the constant pain relief he needed. Since his death, Jake’s family petitioned for a change to the New Jersey medical marijuana law in order to help those people like their son who used cannabis to manage pain relief.
Know the law
The law around medical marijuana purchase and consumption in New Jersey, and across the rest of the United States, is constantly evolving and changing. Although no federal law has been passed that legalizes medical marijuana use, people are unlikely to face jail terms if unlawfully found in possession. However, thanks to the change in the law, the rules relating to its purchase and use in New Jersey has become a lot more relaxed.
It will be interesting to see how this develops even further in both the Garden State and the rest of the country.