by Mark Miller
Thu, Dec 06, 2012 2:20 pm
Almost three years after medical marijuana was legalized in New Jersey
, the state's first dispensary – Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair (an Essex County
township located in the northeastern section of the state) – opened its doors to provide medicine for its initial three patients at 11 a.m. this morning.
Greenleaf will only serve 20 patients per day maximum and the shop is appointment only – the Jersey
dispensaries are attempting to distinguish themselves from the “retail store” element of pot dispensaries in states like California and Colorado that have drawn criticism from anti-pot pundits.
The New Jersey state legislature
legalized medical pot in January 2010 and Governor Chris Christie
signed it into law later that month. Since then, Gov Christie and the state's Dept of Health and Senior Services have impeded implementation
of a functional dispensary program.
Eventually Gov Christie and his administration refined the law to make it one of the strictest in the nation – for example, doctors who recommend cannabis must register with the state, nowhere else in the U.S. is that required of pot physicians.
In August 2012 New Jersey patients began registering for the state's Medical Marijuana
Program and now there are nearly 400 individuals registered to receive medical pot once the six state-sanctioned “Alternative Treatment Centers” are in operation – though Greenleaf is the only approved dispensary at this time. Greenleaf CEO Joseph Stevens
told the AP
today “everything's been going great” and he previously informed CBS 2 New York
that the medicine would be grown at a separate location, undisclosed for security reasons.