New Jersey’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens today after years of battles and bureaucratic delays in enacting a controversial law signed on former Gov. Jon Corzine’s last day in office. reports the Newark Star-Ledger. The founders of Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair said only patients who recommended by their doctor, registered with the state Health Department, and scheduled for an appointment will be allowed to get through the door.
Today’s opening will come after fights between Gov. Chris Christie, who said the law he inherited was too lax, and advocates who said he was taking too long to bring relief to patients in pain. As Christie and lawmakers wrestled over the program’s rules, the health department — creating the program from scratch — encountered problems with screening potential dispensary operators. The governor stressed New Jersey would not resemble the "de facto legalization" of pot in Colorado and California, and put John O’Brien, a retired State Police lieutenant, in charge. New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is the nation’s toughest.