High times in New Jersey again as officials this week announced that the Garden State’s third medical marijuana facility is slated to open next month in Woodbridge. The announcement follows the opening of the second dispensary earlier this month in the southern New Jersey community of Egg Harbor Township.
The newest facility, the Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, is accepting applications from patients and caregivers. It is the first facility located in the central part of the state. The state’s first dispensary, Greenleaf Compassion Center, is located in Montclair.
The medical marijuana program was initially signed off on by embattled former Gov. Jon Corzine in 2010, but the program has been slow to become fully operational due to the Christie administration. In the past, Gov. Chris Christie has stymied efforts to fully execute the program, alleging the potential for widespread abuse by “unscrupulous doctors.”
Additionally, applicants and doctors had to endure a rigorous and tedious licensing and registration process that in some cases took several months to complete. However, earlier this year, the rotund governor doubled state funding for the program from $800,000 to $1.6 million, thus allowing more facilities to be established across the Garden State, and eliminated some of the red tape involved in the process.
According to statistics from the state Health Department, more than 1,500 patients and caregivers are registered with the state between the two existing facilities. Under current guidelines, participants can legally purchase up to two ounces of weed each month to treat chronic medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and other potentially fatal diseases.
Officials said the new facility in Woodbridge should be open for business in December.