The first New Jersey marijuana dispensary opened Thursday morning, following years of political battles since such establishments were legalized in the state.
But Montclair locals were hardly dancing in the streets. The New York Times reports that customers “skulked in and out like criminals.” NJ.com described one patient who “held up a folder to block his face and rushed passed reporters.”
New York Magazine’s Daily Intel blog summed it up as “kind of a bummer.”
While patients shuffled in and out of the Greenleaf Compassion Center for scheduled appointments, mostly keeping away from the hordes of press, at least two guys had no problem providing commentary: “It will give people a chance to, you know, relax,” one man, smoking a joint outside the dispensary — with weed acquired elsewhere — told the New York Post.
New Jersey officially legalized medical marijuana in January 2010, but uncertainty regarding federal backlash kept state-sanctioned marijuana off the market until recently. The Greenleaf dispensary is the first to complete the application and permitting process required to receive approval from local officials, according to the NJ.com.
Though medical marijuana dispensaries have reason to cheer in New Jersey, similar establishments on the opposite coast are ticked off.
In Washington, where marijuana was recently approved for recreational use, dispensaries are fearing a drop-off in business. They lobbied hard against recreational legalization and “now risk relinquishing that lucrative marketplace to new competitors,” reports The Huffington Post’s Lucia Graves.