Senator VIN GOPAL
District 11 (Monmouth)
Senator JAMES BEACH
District 6 (Burlington and Camden)
“Jake Honig’s Law”; removes limits on amount of medical marijuana that may be dispensed at one time and expands access to edible forms, including oils.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning medical marijuana and amending P.L.2009, c.307.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 7 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-7) is amended to read as follows:
7. a. The department shall accept applications from entities for permits to operate as alternative treatment centers, and may charge a reasonable fee for the issuance of a permit under this section. The department shall seek to ensure the availability of a sufficient number of alternative treatment centers throughout the State, pursuant to need, including at least two each in the northern, central, and southern regions of the State. The first two centers issued a permit in each region shall be nonprofit entities, and centers subsequently issued permits may be nonprofit or for-profit entities.
An alternative treatment center shall be authorized to acquire a reasonable initial and ongoing inventory, as determined by the department, of marijuana seeds or seedlings and paraphernalia, possess, cultivate, plant, grow, harvest, process, display, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, distribute, supply, sell, or dispense marijuana, or related supplies to qualifying patients or their primary caregivers who are registered with the department pursuant to section 4 of this act. An alternative treatment center shall not be limited in the number of strains of medical marijuana cultivated, and may package and directly dispense marijuana to qualifying patients in dried form, oral lozenges, topical formulations, or edible form, or any other form as authorized by the commissioner. Edible form shall include tablets, capsules, oils, drops or syrups, and any other form as authorized by the commissioner. [Edible forms shall be available only to qualifying patients who are minors.]
Applicants for authorization as nonprofit alternative treatment centers shall be subject to all applicable State laws governing nonprofit entities, but need not be recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization by the federal Internal Revenue Service.
b. The department shall require that an applicant provide such information as the department determines to be necessary pursuant to regulations adopted pursuant to this act.
c. A person who has been convicted of a crime involving any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as set forth in chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes except paragraph (4) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-10, or any similar law of the United States or any other state shall not be issued a permit to operate as an alternative treatment center or be a director, officer, or employee of an alternative treatment center, unless such conviction occurred after the effective date of this act and was for a violation of federal law relating to possession or sale of marijuana for conduct that is authorized under this act.
d. (1) The commissioner shall require each applicant seeking a permit to operate as an alternative treatment center to undergo a criminal history record background check. For purposes of this section, the term "applicant" shall include any owner, director, officer, or employee of an alternative treatment center. The commissioner is authorized to exchange fingerprint data with and receive criminal history record background information from the Division of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation consistent with the provisions of applicable federal and State laws, rules, and regulations. The Division of State Police shall forward criminal history record background information to the commissioner in a timely manner when requested pursuant to the provisions of this section.
An applicant shall submit to being fingerprinted in accordance with applicable State and federal laws, rules, and regulations. No check of criminal history record background information shall be performed pursuant to this section unless the applicant has furnished his written consent to that check. An applicant who refuses to consent to, or cooperate in, the securing of a check of criminal history record background information shall not be considered for a permit to operate, or authorization to be employed at, an alternative treatment center. An applicant shall bear the cost for the criminal history record background check, including all costs of administering and processing the check.
(2) The commissioner shall not approve an applicant for a permit to operate, or authorization to be employed at, an alternative treatment center if the criminal history record background information of the applicant reveals a disqualifying conviction as set forth in subsection c. of this section.
(3) Upon receipt of the criminal history record background information from the Division of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the commissioner shall provide written notification to the applicant of his qualification for or disqualification for a permit to operate or be a director, officer, or employee of an alternative treatment center.
If the applicant is disqualified because of a disqualifying conviction pursuant to the provisions of this section, the conviction that constitutes the basis for the disqualification shall be identified in the written notice.
(4) The Division of State Police shall promptly notify the commissioner in the event that an individual who was the subject of a criminal history record background check conducted pursuant to this section is convicted of a crime or offense in this State after the date the background check was performed. Upon receipt of that notification, the commissioner shall make a determination regarding the continued eligibility to operate or be a director, officer, or employee of an alternative treatment center.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of this section to the contrary, the commissioner may offer provisional authority for an applicant to be an employee of an alternative treatment center for a period not to exceed three months if the applicant submits to the commissioner a sworn statement attesting that the person has not been convicted of any disqualifying conviction pursuant to this section.
(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of this section to the contrary, no employee of an alternative treatment center shall be disqualified on the basis of any conviction disclosed by a criminal history record background check conducted pursuant to this section if the individual has affirmatively demonstrated to the commissioner clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation. In determining whether clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation has been demonstrated, the following factors shall be considered:
(a) the nature and responsibility of the position which the convicted individual would hold, has held or currently holds;
(b) the nature and seriousness of the crime or offense;
(c) the circumstances under which the crime or offense occurred;
(d) the date of the crime or offense;
(e) the age of the individual when the crime or offense was committed;
(f) whether the crime or offense was an isolated or repeated incident;
(g) any social conditions which may have contributed to the commission of the crime or offense; and
(h) any evidence of rehabilitation, including good conduct in prison or in the community, counseling or psychiatric treatment received, acquisition of additional academic or vocational schooling, successful participation in correctional work-release programs, or the recommendation of those who have had the individual under their supervision.
e. The department shall issue a permit to a person to operate as an alternative treatment center if the department finds that issuing such a permit would be consistent with the purposes of this act and the requirements of this section are met and the department has verified the information contained in the application. The department shall approve or deny an application within 60 days after receipt of a completed application. The denial of an application shall be considered a final agency decision, subject to review by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. The department may suspend or revoke a permit to operate as an alternative treatment center for cause, which shall be subject to review by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
f. A person who has been issued a permit pursuant to this section shall display the permit at the premises of the alternative treatment center at all times when marijuana is being produced, or dispensed to a registered qualifying patient or the patient's primary caregiver.
g. An alternative treatment center shall report any change in information to the department not later than 10 days after such change, or the permit shall be deemed null and void.
h. An alternative treatment center may charge a registered qualifying patient or primary caregiver for the reasonable costs associated with the production and distribution of marijuana for the cardholder.
i. The commissioner shall adopt regulations to:
(1) require such written documentation of each delivery of marijuana to, and pickup of marijuana for, a registered qualifying patient, including the date and amount dispensed, to be maintained in the records of the alternative treatment center, as the commissioner determines necessary to ensure effective documentation of the operations of each alternative treatment center;
(2) monitor, oversee, and investigate all activities performed by an alternative treatment center; and
(3) ensure adequate security of all facilities 24 hours per day, including production and retail locations, and security of all delivery methods to registered qualifying patients.
(cf: P.L.2013, c.160, s.2)
2. Section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10) is amended to read as follows:
10. a. A physician shall provide written instructions for a registered qualifying patient or his caregiver to present to an alternative treatment center concerning the total amount of usable marijuana that a patient may be dispensed, in weight, in a 30-day period [, which amount shall not exceed two ounces]. If no amount is noted, the maximum amount that may be dispensed at one time [is two ounces] shall be at the discretion of the alternative treatment center, based on the patient’s qualifying medical condition and an assessment of the patient’s treatment needs.
b. A physician may issue multiple written instructions at one time authorizing the patient to receive a total of up to a 90-day supply, provided that the following conditions are met:
(1) Each separate set of instructions shall be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by the physician, as provided in this act;
(2) Each separate set of instructions shall indicate the earliest date on which a center may dispense the marijuana, except for the first dispensation if it is to be filled immediately; and
(3) The physician has determined that providing the patient with multiple instructions in this manner does not create an undue risk of diversion or abuse.
c. A registered qualifying patient or his primary caregiver shall present the patient's or caregiver's registry identification card, as applicable, and these written instructions to the alternative treatment center, which shall verify and log the documentation presented. A physician may provide a copy of a written instruction by electronic or other means, as determined by the commissioner, directly to an alternative treatment center on behalf of a registered qualifying patient. The dispensation of marijuana pursuant to any written instructions shall occur within one month of the date that the instructions were written or the instructions are void.
d. A patient may be registered at only one alternative treatment center at any time.
(cf: P.L.2009, c.307, s.10)
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill revises certain requirements concerning patient access to medical marijuana. Specifically, the bill provides that alternative treatment centers may make medical marijuana available to patients in oil form, removes a restriction that made edible forms of medical marijuana available only to qualifying patients who are minors, and removes the current two ounce limit on the quantity of medical marijuana that may be dispensed in a 30-day supply. The patient’s physician may authorize the patient to be dispensed a 30-day supply of medical marijuana in any quantity; if the physician does not specify a quantity, the amount dispensed will be at the discretion of the alternative treatment center, based on the patient’s qualifying medical condition and an assessment of the patient’s treatment needs.
This bill is designated “Jake Honig’s Law” in honor of Jake Honig, a seven-year old 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.
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. In honor of Jake, who passed away on January 21, 2018, 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 debilitating medical condition.