New Jersey Zoning Board to Hear First Dispensary Proposal

The town of Maple Shade (pop:19,000) could be the first community in New Jersey to pave the way for the launch of a medical marijuana dispensary.

Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center – one of six groups awarded a state license to sell marijuana – is scheduled to present its business plan to the Maple Shade zoning board tonight. The center has chosen a vacant building in a relatively isolated area near the New Jersey Turnpike. It now needs a zoning variance for a medical office to follow through with its plans, according to The Daily Journal.

The six centers awarded licenses must select locations and get necessary zoning approvals before opening up shop. The state also needs to finalize several parts of its MMJ laws, which officials hope to do by the end of the year. If all goes smoothly – which it rarely does in the medical marijuana industry – the dispensaries could open early next year.

Like several other states, New Jersey has been slow to move forward with establishing a medical marijuana infrastructure, in large part because of controversy surrounding the industry. The state has some of the strictest regulations in the country, capping the number of allowed dispensaries to just a handful and limiting medical marijuana access to patients with specific conditions, such as terminal cancer.

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