The full New Jersey Assembly has approved a bill to stipulate that a registered qualifying patient’s authorized use of medical marijuana is to be considered equivalent to using any other prescribed medication and not the use of an illicit substance that would otherwise disqualify a qualifying patient from needed medical care, including organ transplantation.

The measure is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Peter Barnes, Annette Quijano and Reed Gusciora.

“Now that this program is beginning to operate, it’s important that we protect patients desperately in need of this assistance,” says Barnes. “This will help ensure that the law cannot be misconstrued to hold these patients liable so that they receive the care they need.”

The bill supplements the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.” It allows patients registered for the program to be able to receive needed medical care, including organ transplantation.

“Many of the patients seeking relief under our medical marijuana law are terminally ill or suffering from unimaginable pain,” says Quijano. “The last thing they need is to have their medical needs denied because of a misinterpretation of the law.”

The bill was approved 67-9-2 by the Assembly and now awaits final legislative approval by the full Senate.

“The original law was enacted to ease the suffering for patients that have not found relief through traditional means,” explains Gusciora, one of the sponsors of the original law. “This will help ensure that they receive the treatment they need and are not penalized under the law.”