N.J. Zoning Board Rejects State’s First Dispensary Proposal

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Just when it appeared New Jersey was finally on track to move forward with its dispensary program, yet another setback has cropped up.

The zoning board in Maple Shade, New Jersey, unanimously rejected a group’s request to use a relatively isolated building surrounded by highways to sell medical marijuana and related products. Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center was looking to become the first medical pot group in the state to receive zoning board approval for a new dispensary. But officials in Maple Shade – which is close to the border with Pennsylvania – determined that the building in question is not zoned to house an alternative treatment center. The vacant building previously housed a company selling office furniture.

A spokesman for the center said an appeal is possible, adding that Compassionate is exploring other buildings as well. But it doesn’t look good for the center’s near-term prospects: Zoning board officials said the dispensary should ideally set up shop near a hospital – yet Maple Shade doesn’t even have one.

Five other centers have been awarded licenses to operate in the state, only one of which has said publicly that it has identified a possible site. If the Maple Shade decision sets the tone for the rest of the state, it could be a while before New Jersey sees any dispensaries.