Most of us can agree that the great state of New Jersey is a diverse landscape, full of wonderful things like regrettable MTV franchises, a few miles of marshlands that baby-sit New York’s sports teams, and endless Gabagool.
Now, you can tack medical marijuana onto that list.
Last week, the Greenleaf Compassion Center received New Jersey’s first license to dispense medical marijuana. It plans to begin doing so in the well-heeled suburb of Montclair, according to the Huffington Post.
Last year, the state’s Dept. of Health selected six nonprofit groups to pursue the growth and distribution of medical marijuana in New Jersey. Of the six however, Greenleaf is the only group to have made it this far. The others have run into numerous geographical roadblocks, unable to locate towns that will accept their operations and grant them permission to set up shop.
Montclair, a racially integrated, cosmopolitan suburb 30 minutes from New York by train, is all for dispensaries.
"Why are the other communities so closed-minded as to not accept something like that?" said Peter Ryby, owner of Montclair Book Store.
Likewise, Janice Talley, Montclair’s director of planning and community development, has heard little public community outcry against the cannabis storefront.
"Nobody from the town called me and complained why we had that facility," she said. "It wasn't a huge issue here."
With the Montclair operation full steam ahead, New Jersey is set to become the 10th state with a medical marijuana dispensary, joining Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
Getting a medical marijuana card in the Garden State won’t be a piece of (space) cake, however. The state is banning residents from growing their own pot and limiting the potency, amount and variety of types of marijuana that patients can purchase. Additionally, New Jersey has established strict medical qualifications to receive marijuana. While other states distribute medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and anxiety, those conditions won’t get you any ganja in Jersey.
The Greenleaf Compassion Center will have some controversial, libertine company on Montclair’s main drag. Among its neighbors: an abortion clinic, an adult video store and a tobacco smoke shop. Not exactly Sesame Street for ya, but there’s also a health food store with a juice bar to assuage your guilt, or quench your munchies.