First Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Issued In New Jersey

The New Jersey state health department issued its first medical marijuana dispensary on Monday. Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Montclair cleared all the necessary hurdles to plan their grand opening. Although the first New Jersey dispensary will not be able to open immediately, it can now start to schedule patient appointments.

Five other medical marijuana dispensary centers are in the planning stages of opening in the Garden State. Cannabis for patients became legal in the state in 2010 with specific restrictions. The law was scheduled to take effect when Governor Jon Corzine was leaving office but was delayed as the state hashed out regulatory details, CBS News notes. New Jersey doctors were permitted to begin registering qualifying patients for marijuana dispensary cards in August.

Greenleaf Compassion COO, Julio Valentin, had this to say about the progress of the dispensary license during an interview with ABC News:

“At one point we felt that the progression of the program installation was slow. But we understand that Governor [Chris] Christie and the state of New Jersey is doing the best they can to cross their T’s and dot their I’s to make this program as successful as possible.”

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia currently permit medical compassion marijuana dispensaries. Three states have recreational pot usage amendments on the November ballot. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and a host of other drug-related agencies vowed to fight all violations of federal marijuana statutes. A DEA conference call on Monday focused on not only exercising their position on the issue but pushed Attorney General Eric Holder to publicly come out against such state laws as he promised to do in 2010, the Huffington Post notes.

States with marijuana legalization laws on the books are violating federal law. But, if Attorney General Eric Holder is permitting “Sanctuary Cities” in violation of federal immigration laws, can he sue states which permit medical compassionate or recreational usage of cannabis without appearing hypocritical?