After over two years since New Jersey's medical marijuana law passed, the state has finally obtained its first permit for a medical marijuana facility to begin growing.
The facility in Montclair is called the Greenleaf Compassion Center. According to a statement from the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the permit to begin growing medicinal marijuana was only issued after background checks of Greenleaf officers, site visits by the Medicinal Marijuana Program, as well as safety and security systems approval.
The Department is committed to ensuring that medicinal marijuana is safely and securely available to patients as quickly as possible, said Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. Today's action authorizes Greenleaf to grow medicinal marijuana-which generally takes three to four months-so that once a permit for its dispensary is issued, medicinal marijuana will be available without delay.
Another permit is needed for the Greenleaf Compassion Center to operate as an alternative treatment center. The N.J. Department of Health states that once the Montclair dispensary is operational and has been inspected by the state a permit will be issued. In addition, Greenleaf will have to satisfy the Department that it is in compliance with all of the regulations of the Medicinal Marijuana Program, continues the statement.
While the growing process takes three to four months, CEO of Greenleaf, Joe Stevens said that they will not begin planting until Governor Chris Christie guarantees the program's future. Stevens concern stems from the over two year delay. A main issue for him is going ahead and growing the product, only for the health department to not be ready to issue the final permit to dispense.
We could store the medication, said Stevens. But how long would we have to do that for?
According to NJ.com, the Greenleaf group is set to meet next week with state officials to discuss the future.
The Greenleaf Compassion Center is the first out six alternative treatment centers to receive a permit to begin growing medicinal marijuana.
Besides issuing the permit on Monday, the State also released a list of physicians that are able to prescribe medicinal marijuana to registered patients.