NJ’s 1st legal weed shop with drive-thru lane opens as 2 more get green lights from cities
New Jersey’s 17th legal weed store began selling adult recreational marijuana on Tuesday — and it’s the first in the state to offer a drive-thru option.
The Lodi Apothecarium, which is owned by TerrAscend, opened its doors to customers wanting adult weed at its 200 NJ- Route 17 location. opening in northern New Jersey.
Meanwhile, two other New Jersey towns — Montclair and Neptune Township — gave the green light Monday night to begin offering adult weed sales.
Montclair approved a resolution allowing Ascend to begin selling adult weed, and Verano – under the Zen Leaf banner – received final approval from the Neptune Township subcommittee.
The towns moves were first reported by NJ Advance Media in June and are the latest dominoes to fall in the fiercely competitive race to sell adult weed in New Jersey. So far, 16 stores are selling it after the statewide launch of legalized recreational marijuana for adults on April 21.
Ascend can start adult weed sales in Montclair “immediately” inside its existing dispensary at 395 Bloomfield Avenue after getting final approval from the township manager, who could come at any time, a doorman said. -word of the company.
Verano Zen Leaf in Neptune Township only needs final state approvals, which could come Thursday at the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s scheduled meeting. If that happens, a Verano representative said the dispensary could start selling adult weed within days in Neptune Township.
“We hope to be voted on and approved by the New Jersey CRC this Thursday to obtain the final approval necessary to open Zen Leaf Neptune for sale of adult-use cannabis thereafter on the beautiful Jersey Shore,” said the Verano’s attorney, Grace Bondy, in an email.
For Ascend, it took a series of negotiations with the Township of Montclair to get there.
“We are delighted to have received planning board approval, which was our final step in meeting local demand for Montclair,” Caitlin Fleishman, director of public affairs and communications for Ascend Wellness, said in a statement. “Ascend looks forward to starting adult sales imminently and contributing significant funds to the municipality.”
Ascend received its license from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission earlier this year, but subsequent issues with the township have caused recent delays and even a stalemate.
In May, the Montclair city council voted to have Ascend’s application approved by the township manager instead of the city council. Things got tense between the two sides early last month as Ascend was accused of prematurely starting adult weed sales for more than three hours on June 7 before municipal approvals were finalized.
Montclair Township ordered the company to cease sales that afternoon, and the two sides went back to the drawing board to resolve their differences.
Verano got her township’s approvals months ago and just needed the final piece from the township subcommittee, which she received on Monday.
“As for the Township of Neptune, (Verano) has been free to sell recreational marijuana since last night,” said Bernie Haney, director of land use for the township, who upheld the vote 4 -0 in favor of the company’s expansion into adult sales at its two-year medical dispensary on 2100 NJ Route 66.
TerrAscend began selling adult weed under The Apothecarium banner in Maplewood and Phillipsburg on April 21st. A month later, he received state endorsements for Lodi.
The opening of the Apothecarium in Lodi on Tuesday marked the debut of the state’s first drive-in dispensary, which sits off Route 17 and Interstate-80.
The drive-thru is open to both recreational customers and repeat medical marijuana patients, company officials said. New medical marijuana patients must come inside for their first visit. The store encourages those wishing to use the drive-thru to order online and wait for a notification that the order is ready.
The store sits on “two of the busiest highways in New Jersey, we expect Apothecarium Lodi to be a strong contributor to our growth,” said Jason Wild, executive chairman of TerrAscend in a press release.
The 5,000 square foot dispensary includes a spacious showroom and an interactive “bud bar” where shoppers can see and smell the product before buying it.
Apothecarium Lodi is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., seven days a week with dedicated medical services for patients, including priority lines and dedicated patient hours during the first two working hours of each day, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
New Jersey will have 19 stores selling legal weed once those in Montclair and Neptune Township open.
Others are hoping to do the same, including a handful of existing dispensaries that sell strictly medical marijuana, like the Justice Cannabis Co.-owned Bloc dispensary in Ewing Township, which debuted June 16.
Curaleaf is also on the CRC agenda on Thursday to push for plans to expand sales to adults in Bordentown.
With its Rochelle Park site opening three months ago and securing final approvals for the Montclair site on Monday, Ascend is likely to focus on Fort Lee, where it wants to convert a former Staples store into its third store offering adult weed.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com
Suzette Parmley can be attached to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @SuzParmley