Gov. Murphy signs bill expanding medical marijuana program

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Gov. Phil Murphy has signed legislation to expand the state's medical marijuana program.

The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act is named after a 7-year-old boy from Howell who died last year after a fight with a brain tumor. His parents fought for easier access to cannabis to ease the pain of certain illnesses.

“He's definitely smiling down, he's very happy with what we've done to help other patients,” says mother Janet Honing.

The Honings say that cannabis was the only thing that brought Jake comfort at the end of his life

RELATED: State lawmakers delay revote on medical marijuana expansion bill 

“When we were going through the struggle of running out of medical cannabis, we said something has to change and when we get through this we're going to make sure no other parent has to fear running out of medicine. That's just inhumane,” says Jake’s father, Mike Honing.

The Democrat-led Legislature sent Murphy the bill after failing in March to legalize recreational marijuana.

The bill makes a number of changes, including expanding the number of illnesses eligible and can authorize cannabis use. It sets up a commission to regulate the drug and increases the number of permits. It also phases out the state's 6.625 percent sales tax over three years. Home delivery has also been authorized.

Murphy called it a major step forward for patients.

“Pain has been eased, precious moments with family have been cherished,” the governor said.

At least 47,000 New Jerseyans use medical cannabis, according to state records.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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