New medical pot center authorized in South Jersey, but no date set for opening

     (Brennan Linsley/AP Photo, file)

    (Brennan Linsley/AP Photo, file)

    The timing for the grand opening is unclear, but New Jersey has given a second medical marijuana dispensary the OK to open its doors.

    The new center is set for South Jersey in Egg Harbor Township.


    “The permitting of Compassionate Care Foundation to operate as an ATC [alternative treatment center] will give registered patients more options in terms of geographic locations and the number of available strains,” according to a statement from Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd.

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    There’s also a grower licensed in Middlesex County, but the marijuana program has been dogged by complaints over delays.

    Peter Flynn, who lives with multiple sclerosis, got his medical marijuana ID card back in July.

    “I had no idea it would take so long, I just have to sit and wait for a phone call,” Flynn said.

    The 44-year-old is registered with the state’s first alternative treatment center, Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair in North Jersey.

    Right now, Greenleaf is not accepting new customers, said president Julio Valentin.

    The operation, which expanded its crop this year, may be open to more patients beginning in January.

    Flynn’s experience seems to reflect that of many patients who say they’ve invested lots of time — and money — but still have not received the marijuana.

    Most patients pay $200 to join the medical marijuana program, and they need a recommendation from a doctor.

    “You have to build up a relationship with a doctor who’s registered to prescribe. I believe it was five different doctor visits,” Flynn said. “Had to pay out of pocket, he didn’t accept insurance.”

    Each doctor visit cost about $100, Flynn said. When he called New Jersey’s customer service hotline this summer, he was told it might be a full year before he books an appointment with a dispensary.

    Department of Health spokeswoman Dawn Thomas said for the most accurate information on wait times, customers should check with each individual medical marijuana center.

    “Much of the timing is dependent on the ATC’s logistics and hours of operation, which is outside of department purview,” Thomas wrote in an email.

    Flynn said when he tried to call Greenleaf, no one returned his inquiry.

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