New Jersey’s oft-beleaguered medical cannabis program got a big boost today when a new dispensary called Zen Leaf opened its doors in Elizabeth, Union County.
Nearly 10 years ofter NJ legalized medical marijuana, Zen Leaf becomes only the 9th dispensary in a state that’s home 9,000,000 people.
Jeff Brown is NJ’s Deputy Health Commissioner in charge of NJ’s medical cannabis program.
“There are currently 77,000 patients enrolled by the Division of Medicinal Marijuana,” Brown told InsiderNJ. “The opening of Zen Leaf Elizabeth represents the 9th operating dispensary in New Jersey, and will bring new products and a much needed new access point to patients. Zen Leaf is the second ATC to start dispensing from awards made at the end of 2018, with the remaining four expected in the coming months. ”
NJ’s medial cannabis legislation was signed into law by Governor Jon Corzine and stood up by Governor Chris Christie, a notorious hardliner on drug policy.
NJ’s byzantine regulatory climate reflects Christie’s reticence to liberalize NJ’s pot laws. NJ’s current Governor Phil Murphy has taken steps to expand NJ’s program including lowering application fees, phasing out the medical marijuana sales tax, and expanding who qualifies.
NJ’s list of qualifying conditions includes the following ailments:
- AIDS/HIV diagnosis.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Chronic Pain
- Inflammatory bowel disease, (incl. Crohn’s disease)
- Intractable skeletal spasticity
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Opioid Use Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
- Terminal illness w/prognosis of less than 12 months to live
- Tourette Syndrome
Another dispensary in New Jersey should 1) lower the price and 2) ease congestion at the other sites. NJ where patients often report long lines and wait times.
“Department is committed to continuing to expand the medical cannabis market, even in these unprecedented times,” Commissioner Brown added.