Legislation Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey sponsored to expand access to medical marijuana was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill is designated “Jake Honig’s Law” in honor of Jake Honig, a Howell resident nicknamed “Jake the Tank” who, at the age of two, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer with a rare genetic mutation.
After undergoing dozens of rounds of chemotherapy, proton radiation therapy and surgery, his tumor went into remission for four years, until follow-up scans determined that the tumor had returned and spread to other parts of his body.
Jake’s doctors advised his parents that there was nothing more to be done, and he was released to hospice care in his own home, where, despite being prescribed six different medications to treat his various symptoms, medical marijuana proved to be the most effective way of stopping his nausea, vomiting, agitation, and acid reflux, and improving his mood, stimulating his appetite, and restoring his mental well-being.
Assemblywoman Downey was joined by the Honig family Thursday as the committee advanced the bill.
“Although medical marijuana proved to be an effective treatment for Jake, his parents noted the difficulties they encountered with the cost, quantity limits, and issues related to producing their own cannabis oil to administer to Jake,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “In honor of Jake, who passed away in January, this bill seeks to remove certain restrictions on access to medical marijuana in order to reduce the suffering experienced by, and improve the quality of life of, New Jersey patients, like Jake, seeking treatment for a life-threatening medical condition.”
“There are many patients like Jake and his family in New Jersey who deserve expanded access to medical marijuana a part of their medicinal regimen,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. “They must also have access to other types of products, not just in capsule form.”
Specifically, the bill (A-3421) revises state law to include additional debilitating medical conditions that will authorize a patient for use of medical marijuana.
The bill was advanced by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.