Two new medical marijuana dispensaries have received permission to open their doors to patients, officials announced Wednesday.
The state Department of Health said it has issued final permits to Zen Leaf Elizabeth and Columbia Care in Vineland to begin dispensing marijuana. That brings the state total to 11 dispensaries.
Zen Leaf, operated by Verano NJ, will open its doors Friday in Elizabeth. Columbia Care plans to open in early June. Both received licenses to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana during a licensing round in 2018.
They join the nine dispensaries serving more than 77,000 patients across the state. While long drives and lines, as well as product shortages, have plagued the program for years, the coronavirus outbreak exacerbated the issues in late March. Some patients reported waiting hours in line only to find the dispensaries had run out of certain products.
And others, who are immunocompromised, feared the crowds and possible infection if they ventured to the dispensaries.
But the health department responded to the crisis with several waivers: They allowed dispensaries to offer curbside pickup, remote consultations and reduced caregiver fees, which allow patients to send a designated person to dispensaries to pickup their medicine. [Read more at NJ.com]