Feb. 5 in Howell will be dedicated to young fighter named ‘Jake the Tank’

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HOWELL – Three years after his passing, the legacy of Jake “The Tank” Honig lives on in his hometown of Howell, where municipal officials will dedicate Feb. 5 in memory of the youngster.

Jake, 7, died on Jan. 21, 2018 after a five-year battle with cancer. He is survived by his father, Mike, his mother, Janet, and his sister, Gianna. In the late stages of their son’s disease, the Honigs used medical cannabis to ease the pain Jake faced.

After Jake died, the Honigs committed themselves to lobbying for an expansion of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program and on July 2, 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law.

The law reformed New Jersey’s medical marijuana program and expanded patient access to medical marijuana. Among other provisions, the law:

• Raises the monthly limit from 2 ounces to 3 ounces. Terminally ill and hospice care patients are not be subject to any monthly limit;

• Extends the authorization period from 90 days to one year. The law authorizes healthcare practitioners to issue up to a one-year supply, which will help reduce the frequency of visits and decrease costs for patients;

• Authorizes edibles for adults in addition to minors. Under the prior law, edibles were only authorized for patients who are minors;

• Phases out the sales tax on medical marijuana;

During the Jan. 26 meeting of the Howell Township Council, Councilman John Bonevich remembered Jake.

“I want to remind everyone of a great young man. This council, a couple of years ago, dedicated a day to Jake. We said, ‘Be like Jake.’ I can’t believe it has been (three) years. He is an inspiration for all of us. I just want to remind everyone in Howell about this young man and how courageous he was. In Howell, Feb. 5 will be Jake Honig Day,” Bonevich said.

“Be like Jake” refers to how Jake, who was nicknamed “The Tank,” always showed up strong. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in August 2012 and battled the disease for five years, including time spent in remission.

“Jake was a master of controlling what he could. He could not control that he had cancer, he could not control that he had to go through barbaric treatments, but he could control the fact that he found some point, at least, in every day to smile,” Mike Honig previously said of his son.

During Jake’s treatment, the Honigs were able to relieve their son’s pain by rubbing cannabis oil on his gums so it could be absorbed into his body. The medical cannabis was not life-saving for Jake, but it was life-changing.

The Honigs eventually started “Be Like Jake,” a nonprofit organization that assists families in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties.

On Jan. 28, Honig told the Tri-Town News the law that was named for his son has helped many children in New Jersey.

“Every time we hear from a parent whose child is having success on the (medical marijuana) program, it is very comforting.

“We hope the program can continue to thrive and that parents, patients and caregivers can continue to be educated on a great medication.

“We also want to give a big thank you to the state’s (medical marijuana) dispensaries who put education as a top priority to patients,” Jake’s dad said.