As the first medical marijuana dispensery in New Jersey opens its doors to patients, it was announced on Monday that by the end of the year first prescriptions would be filled.
The long wait is finally over
Greenleaf Compassion Center is the first facility in New Jersey with a permit to grow cannabis and to sell it to registered patients. Currently, there are about 320 patients in the state of New Jersey with “debilitating medical conditions” who have been registered or are in the process of registration, said Mary O’Dowd, state health commissioner.
These conditions include HIV, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease – to name a few. According to O’Dowd, the Center has received its final permit and now it’s all in their hands – they can begin dispensing medical marijuana any time they like. Registration fee is $200, however, almost half of the patients come from the low-income group and thus will be charged only $20.
During the telephone press conference O’Dowd also said that, besides Greenleaf Compassion Center, there are five other centers that are currently in different stages of the permit process.
Meticulous rules and regulations
Greenleaf Center got its first permit earlier this year, in April, but the opening was delayed because of a problem with an air conditioner that is now resolved. The CEO of the Center says that getting the final permitting was a tough job and unlike any other business they’ve done before – almost unbelievable. The rules and regulations are extremely strict, however,
Jersey’s quest for medical marijuana has had some unnecessary delays. Development of the overall medical marijuana program in New Jersey has even been criticized for taking too long. This delay does not come as a surprise if you look closely at New Jersey’s program that is said to be one of the country’s strictest medical marijuana programs.
Greenleaf will soon sell its first leaves
Located in Monclair, the Center won’t be growing marijuana in New Jersey, but it will sell there. For security reasons, the growing location cannot be made public. CEO Stevens and his partner, COO and former police officer Julio Valentin both say that they are ready to contact patients.
So, during next week the 190 patients, who have registered with the state, will get their identification cards – which will also be sent to their physicians. The remaining 130 patients are still in the process of registration – hopefully it won’t take too long for them.
A step forward
Years of political battles and bureaucratic delays are finally over for patients in New Jersey and the first dispensary can open whenever it’s ready, which will be any time now, according to Greenleaf’s CEO who said that there are some remaining issues to finalize with the state before they are ready.
“This permit marks a significant step forward in the implementation of New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program and allows Greenleaf Compassion Center to begin dispensing medicinal marijuana to qualified patients” O’Dowd said.