Starting Thursday, New Jersey residents with certain illnesses are allowed to apply for medical marijuana ID cards.
Joseph Stevens’ Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair, near Newark, will be the first dispensary to open in early September. It has had a permit to grow pot since April, and will be the only dispensary in the state for at least three or four months.
“We always had the intention, and always hoped that all six centers would be up and running at the same time, and that isn’t the case, and that’s unfortunate,” Stevens said. “But we’re going to do our best to service all the patients in New Jersey.”
Estimates of the number of patients who will apply for ID cards vary greatly.
Stevens said he will be watching applicant numbers closely over the next few weeks to determine if he can meet demand.
He said he has grown enough marijuana to supply about 800 patients.
The owner of a dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, just outside Atlantic City, is hoping to get a grow permit soon and wants to open to patients before the end of the year.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said patients need to visit one of about 150 registered doctors in the state to get a prescription.
“A physician will register a qualified patient into the system, and that system will generate that ID number for the patient,” O’Dowd said. “The patient then takes that ID number and registers themself in the medicinal marijuana program.”
O’Dowd said the state will then send an ID card within five days.
It costs $200 to apply, and cards are good for two years.