Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) today voted ‘yes’ on a critical bill to expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 33-4.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon voted yes on a critical bill to expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 33-4. (Pixabay)
“I am proud to be a prime sponsor of this legislation and vote ‘yes’ on its passage. However, I do believe there are some areas of the bill we can improve upon,” O’Scanlon said. “I would like to see us phase out the tax on medical cannabis completely within two years – if not immediately – and certainly not add another tax. I don’t believe we should be taxing medication at all.”
As a prime sponsor of A-10/S-10, O’Scanlon has long-been an outspoken supporter of a medical marijuana expansions. Previously, the Senator had introduced his own standalone bill, S-3795, to expand the medical program.
“I introduced my own piece of legislation as an ideal list of what I’d like to see happen with our medical program. This legislation included leaving control of the program, whether through a commission or not, under the purview of the Department of Health. The bill also proposed eliminating, or at least capping, the potential tax stamp cost. I’ve also publicly advocated for allowing the authorization of a limited, monitored ‘homegrow’ pilot program,” O’Scanlon continued.
“However, no one should interpret my criticisms of our legislation as a measure of unhappiness with today’s outcome. I’m thrilled that we are finally expanding this efficacious program, which has been tremendously helpful for some of our sickest residents. One need look no further than Jake Honig’s remarkable story to understand how valuable this medication can be, and how critical it is that we move forward with an expansion of our medical cannabis program in some form.
“I enthusiastically voted ‘yes’ today, because we should never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I see room for improvement in the program and I look forward to continuing to be involved in the push for those improvements as well. Should this bill be signed by the Governor in its current form, we will be introducing a bill package that will create an avenue to re-mediate our concerns. Today was a win, but we still have much work to do on the road ahead.”