O’Scanlon: New Jersey’s medical marijuana program needs expanding

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A New Jersey state senator says that the state’s entire medical marijuana program does not go far enough, and should be considered separate from the push to legalize recreational cannabis.

Republican state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon spoke in Trenton Tuesday – joined by medical marijuana patients and their families.

Among them were Mike and Janet Honig, whose son Jake died at age 7 after battling aggressive brain cancer. They say that their son’s pain was excruciating.

“He would look at food and vomit. He wouldn’t drink a sip of water. He would vomit. His pain was so excruciating,” says Mike.

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The Honigs say that marijuana was the only thing to alleviate their son’s pain without serious side effects.

“At home we had to break it down and make our own oil, which took an hour to process,” says Janet. “We had to do it every couple of days and we would administer it right on his gum line.”

O’Scanlon says that he plans to introduce legislation as early as this week to increase the monthly limit of medical marijuana from the current two ounces to four ounces, among other reforms.

“It would be a mistake to continue to hold up the expansion of the medical program, which is so critical to people who are critically ill,” O’Scanlon says.

O'Scanlon says because reform of the medical marijuana program is tied to passage of legal recreational use - for which there is not enough support to pass in the Legislature - the two issues should now be dealt with separately. He says that this would give lawmakers more options, while also providing the ill who use medical marijuana more comfort.

O’Scanlon’s legislation would also eliminate the limit on medical marijuana for terminal patients.

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