State Assemblyman John DiMaio introduced a bill to cut the tax immediately, with no phase-out, but his effort failed to gain needed support. DiMaio said the Senate bill, now in the Assembly, doesn't do enough.
"On top of that, patients don't get any kind of help from their health insurers to this type of medication. They are paying the full tilt," he said.
Attention to the issue is beginning to spread among other lawmakers in the state, which -- at 7 percent -- has one of the country's' highest tax rates for medical pot.
"It's been deemed medicine by law, even if I didn't agree with the law [legalizing medical marijuana] in the beginning," DiMaio said recently. "We shouldn't be taxing medicine. "We don't tax prescription drugs. We do things at times in government, though, that is meant just to grab money."
The majority -- for now, however -- say the money made off marijuana tax is too valuable, and in some cases is already earmarked for other areas. State Sen. Joseph Vitale said last month it would be fiscally irresponsible for New Jersey to drop the tax. He said he initially considered cutting it, but then saw "what the revenue numbers looked like."
"I agree medical marijuana should be treated on par with other pharmaceuticals," Vitale said. "But that being said, the immediate elimination would create another budget hole. That's not responsible."