HEALTH

Medical marijuana expansion bill passes Assembly overwhelmingly

Expanding the medical marijuana passed with overwhelming support Thursday in Trenton.

With its new tally boards up, the State Assembly voted 65-5 on final passage. The bill would change who qualifies for medical marijuana from a debilitating condition to a qualifying medical condition.

It would allow marijuana to be used as a first resort for any qualifying condition and raise the dispensed amount from 2 ounces to 3 ounces per month.

It would also expand who can authorize medical-use marijuana and would have New Jersey seek reciprocity agreements so states can recognize another state’s registered recipients.

One sponsor describes how medical marijuana change the life a young boy with brain cancer who died last year.

“Because of his access to medical marijuana, he was able to eat, to play and to be a child like any other child with his family up until the day he died,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey.

One lawmaker called it a model bill for the nation. But one Republican tried to table the bill, saying it’s immoral to tax medical marijuana and urged lawmakers to eliminate the tax.

If signed in to law, the tax would sunset in 2025. A senate committee has approved a version of the bill. No vote in the full Senate.