Trending: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Montclair

Greenleaf Compassion Center, at 395 Bloomfield Ave., opened and met with more than 20 patients on Dec. 6.

Marijuana has arrived in Montclair. 

Greenleaf Compassion Center, located at 395 Bloomfield Ave., opened on Dec. 6 and became the first medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey. 

“We are excited,” said Joseph Stevens, board member and one of the chief financial officers, about finally opening up the dispensary. “For the patients of New Jersey, they finally are able to procure their medication in a safe environment.” 

The dispensary had scheduled about 20 patient appointments this morning who came from throughout the state, said Stevens. There are more than 370 patients eligible to participate in the medical marijuana program in New Jersey, with many more in the application process. 

The nondescript dispensary is located in the heart of Montclair’s bustling business district, next to restaurants and across from the Wellmont Theatre. The storefront windows are tinted black, and a security guard was stationed under the dispensary’s awning. 

Julio Valentin Jr., another board member and one of the chief financial officers, said he is a longtime business owner in Montclair and was proud to open the first medical marijuana dispensary in town. 

“Montclair has been great with us — the community, the town council, the mayor,” said Valentin. “I have been in this town 15 years and I couldn’t think of a better place for us to open up where it would be so accepting.” 

The community, added Stevens, “are very welcoming to us — from the beginning.” 

Since former Governor Jon Corzine legalized medical marijuana at the start of 2010, the process to open the Greenleaf has been a long one. 

While the Montclair dispensary was issued a permit to sell medical marijuana in October, Stevens said the board delayed the opening until the state decided whether to charge the state’s 7-percent sales tax on the purchase of the drug. 

The state determined at the end of November that marijuana would be a cash crop, and the sales tax would apply to all sales of the drug, according to NJ.com.

“There were a lot of hurdles to get through, that’s for sure,” said Stevens. “But that’s the nature of a new industry. The last issue was the tax issue.”

“We were kind of expecting” that the state would decide to charge sales tax, added Stevens. “Some of the sponsors of the bill had mixed feelings whether it should be taxed or not, so I think they’re going to explore it.” 

The state does not charge sales tax for any other doctor prescribed medicine. 

There are five other treatment centers which are currently seeking a permit from the state, according to the Department of Health

Here is what your local businesses and residents are saying about the opening of Greenleaf on the Montclair Patch Facebook page

  • Carrie Babcock personally, i have a friend with cancer who can barely walk and eat the weeks on the chemo pill. this would be very helpful......
  • Nancy Cookie Glover I believe the less attention brought to this senseless arrival to our community the better...I woukd have preferred that its location have not been on Bloomfield Avenue where its location will be a constant reminder to those who live here but also to those who visit this wonderful town, but I also do feel that as time goes on, and more states legalize it, it will become the norm...I think that what is of most concern to the residents of Montclair is that the drug not enter the hands of minors.
  • Nancy Cookie Glover And yes I do realize that it is solely here for medicinal purposes, you need to prove you have a prescription and proper ID...I am fully aware of that..but along with known sexual offenders that doesnt mean you want it in your town
  • SwapXXchange - The Coolest Thrift Store on the Planet We are proud to be amid such a wonderful diversity of businesses on Bloomfield Avenue in downtown Montclair. We wish Greenleaf much success and will continue to support any business that brings new shoppers to our neighborhood.
  • Monique Balsamo Of course we're on board! Anyone who's experienced what cancer (and other illnesses medicinal marijuana alleviates) does to loved ones, friends & neighbors would agree that a legal, proper dispensary would be welcome in a forward thinking town such as ours. It is not meant to be a stop on the MTC town tour, or to make marijuana available to anyone but patients in need. Don't be ignorant about its purpose or intent.
  • Risa Pappas Why are we even asking ourselves this question? I wouldn't stop and consider if I'd want another doctor's office on the main drag. How is this any different? Aren't the citizens of Montclair supposed to be above close-minded, stigma-filled thinking?
  • Lauren Michelle Nancy, if you are really concerned about minors abusing drugs, I'd direct your attention to prescription pills, which teens are abusing at alarmingly increasing rates. More than that, prescription pills are responsible for the largest percentage of deaths related to overdose. Marijuana? 0. And as others have said, this is not a recreational marijuana dispensary. It is medical. So just like the CVS down the road on Bloomfield Ave (which I assume you do not object to), you aren't getting anything without a prescription.
  • Gabrielle Howard Let's hope that it brings relief to those who truly need it. Go Greenleaf!
  • Nick Baldwin "Compassion" center? I'm sorry, but that is funny.
  • Susan Loomis Wyatt I was wondering why the Eyewitness news truck was parked across from my office.
  • Susan Loomis Wyatt And News 4 NY truck
  • Monique Balsamo Why is "Compassion" center funny? I'm betting it's not funny to a terminally ill patient. good luck, Greenleaf, with a bunch of goons out there who don't get it, you'll need it.
  • Bru Rossman I hope all you stoners out there respect the medical properties of cannabis and the real need of the recipients.
    Thank you.
  • Mikelle Lipsius Komor It's about time.

Traci Ford December 07, 2012 at 02:24 PM
AMEN! Karma Police! JohnCarlo: what the hell does property taxes have to do with a legal MMJ dispensary?!? How about you get your head out of, uh, the sand and get a grip. MJ has been in Montclair for years before this and that didn't do anything to Montclair's reputation OR your property taxes. SMDH, people really need to drag themselves out of the REEFER MADNESS propaganda of the 50s and join us here in the 21st century!
hrhppg December 07, 2012 at 02:31 PM
It's not illegal because it is a drug - it's illegal because greedy men wanted it that way for their own profit. http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/why-is-marijuana-illegal/
Patty Dow December 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM
My daughter's boyfriend has epilepsy. He was diagnosed when he was 10 and has been dealing with LOTS of seizures for almost 15 years. He has had 2 brain surgeries, and has tried almost every prescription med for epilepsy. Medical marijuana in CO helped reduce the number of seizures from hundreds a year to about 15 less violent seizures a year. He would use at night before going to sleep. How can we deny such a MARKED improvement in the quality of life of a WONDERFUL human being and deny the INCREASE in safety to him and those around him? He will never drive, but he has had seizures under many circumstances, some of which have put his life in danger and some of which have jeopardized the lives of others. AND I agree 100% with those who posted comments about the purity and low risk of marijuana as compared to other legal DRUGS such as alcohol and many prescription drugs.
Patty Dow December 07, 2012 at 02:49 PM
And to add one more point - when marijuana is legal, medically or otherwise, it does not put persons in need in the position of having to do something illegal to get their much needed and deserved relief!!!!
Robin Hoffman December 07, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Had a friend who lived 20+ years with HIV. Pot calmed her nausea so she could keep food down. According to her, that's why she was able to live and thrive all those years. Without it she would have died much sooner.
Jane Doe December 07, 2012 at 04:51 PM
My mother was recently diagnosed with terminal stage four brain cancer. She has a gold ball sized tumor in her head behind her eye. This was all the sudden diagnosed two months ago. She had surgery but the tumor is still there, and very aggressive. The chemo has left her weak and not able to eat among other things. If this was available in NY, she would be allowed to feel better in the months she has left. I am appalled by the people who say this isn't a good thing for patients in a similar horrible situation. My heart breaks any time I see people say things that they truly don't understand. I am wondering if she sees a doctor in NJ can she go here and get a perscription? Do they accept Medicare?
mtc4life December 07, 2012 at 05:24 PM
The people at the Space needle were legally smoking Marijuana for recreational purpose not for faking "sick" They were celebrating the fact that in Washington State Marijuana is now 100% legal for all over the age of 21, no longer just for medicinal use. Get your facts together.
mtc4life December 07, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Considering you need to have a life threatening or terminal illness to be admitted to this medical marijuana program, I can't see how the sales will be recreational...
Townie December 07, 2012 at 07:39 PM
JohnCarlo is concerned about our reputation and property values. Look at it this way. There are perhaps 100 dealers operating in the shadows to meet the demand for marijuana among Montclair's citizenry, most of it recreational. The actual number is unknown, of course, but given the demand and that many people know "a guy", the number 100 is probably not far off. Now there are 101. #101 is different, practically hidden in plain sight, behind black glass with a security guard, far enough from schools, etc. and exclusively patronized by those who are very ill. Oh, and it is legal and taxed. Our reputation? Compassionate? Ahead of the curve? Dare I say "clear eyed". Our property taxes? Huh?
steve jones December 07, 2012 at 07:55 PM
"Wonderful for our reputation. and property values." John, may I ask what the heck you are smoking? You think property values will go down because of a non descript little place in town dispensing medical marijuana? Really? C'mon, you can't be serious guy.
John Q December 08, 2012 at 05:58 AM
Steve, Your an idiot.
Tama Flynn December 08, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Welcome Greenleaf and thank you for being here for those who desperately need your help. We did good Montclair!
emiliac December 09, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Hey JD, It's your mother! In your place I would get her to a doctor in New Jersey. Plenty of New Jersians see doctors in NY so it seems to me your mom can see a doctor in NJ. I also feel that with a name like Greenleaf Compassion Center they just have to accept Medicare and Medicaid OR give senior discounts or mercy/compassion discounts to cancer patients in your mom's situation. Go for it girl! The woman is your Mother. She took care of you now you take care of her.
NJ Steel December 09, 2012 at 01:23 PM
If you can't get it at Greenleaf you can always go down New or Mission Street in Monclair for some compassionate smoke.
Steven Serebrenik December 09, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Don't even bother using the medical...total BS.... People want pot and soon (like Colorado) it will be legalized. Medical use is just an excuse ...By the way there are pain killing drugs out there...Injesting marijuana smoke (unlike a former president) creates more problems for people's health...adds another evil to our society and soon we will be telling our kids that it okay....For all the shortsighted folks out there, I truly don't care what personal choices people make however when some kid is high on pot while driving that is and should be a concern for ALL.
Steven Serebrenik December 09, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Dear Jane, I am very sorry about your mom..My mom is no longer here because of the same disease. The problem I see is that (I agree with you about your mother's case) but you know as well as I is that this will be abused by many people who want to smoke for Non-medical reason...I would love you mom and others to do what they want...I just know from living 65 years that ALL "good" things start out that way but guaranteed will wind up being abused....especially in liberal Montclair. I know this a very tough time for you....I can empathize with you. God Bless!
Delaynie Cusick December 09, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I support Greenleaf for all of the people who can not openly. Now to undo decades of stigma and predjudice that have been attached to this wonderful plant.
Bill Hancock December 09, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I am terminal ill with cancer, I have other complications also, I tried to get an appointment with a doctor to prescribe me a medical marijuana card. Most doctors on the list did not even get their license from the state.To get a card you have to be a patient of the prescribing doctor for 1 year, and pay at least $400 to $500 in doctor fees, then you have to spend $200.00 for the card. I use it because I have no appetite with the medication I am presently prescribed. I guess I will have to keep on getting it from the illegal dealers, because I really do not have the money and or time left to get it legally. I guess if I get caught I will get three hots and a cot, & free medical. However I would much rather be legal, and die in peace.
George Brenner December 09, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Steve, you are a joke! You are criticizing others but yet you write, "Filled with errors in spelling, punctuation and basic grammer." Hey bozo, first of all, sentences need a verb. I guess you were playing hooky that day in second grade when that was covered. Secondly, how do you spell grammar? You expect readers to take you seriously?
Erin C December 10, 2012 at 05:17 AM
AMEN!! I just wish it was available to people with other conditions in the state. I have fibromyalgia and the meds I take are INSANELY expensive without insurance and have lots of side effects. It would be so much better if I were able to use MMJ AND cheaper!
Sal December 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Good or bad__it is still ILLEGAL under Federal Law and the owners/distributors of this illegal drug can still be arrested and sentenced to 20 years in Federal prison for distribution of Illegal drugs. It has to be changed at the Federal Level first for it to be legal___ even for medical use in NJ or any other state. The dispenser owners are risking 20 years in federal prison and very costly fines and their criminal defense lawyers fees if the Federal Government decides to arrest them.
Johnny Public December 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Ben, I'm close to this process and the reason there are only a few hundred patients eligible at the moment is because the state just recently granted approval for operation. That means doctors have to register to prescribe it, and after patients are prescribed it they have to register with the state themselves. It's a very deliberate process New Jersey (read: Christie) has implemented to make sure there is no abuse of the system in anyway. The place has security cameras all over. Now that they're up and running, there will be more patients seeking it, more doctors prescribing it, and the eligibles will rise. Rest assured their business plan won't rely on selling to kids out the back door or something.
RidgewoodResident December 10, 2012 at 06:12 PM
People do want pot to be legalized. That's true - the tide of democracy is turning. However medical use is not an excuse. Sure legalization supporters might also support it, because people going to be less hostile marijuana when they see it improving the quality of their, let's say, dearest grandmother with glaucoma's life, but NJ's system is not a joke like California's. It is much more tightly regulated. While smoking is not healthy, marijuana ingested through vaporization (it's 2012, smoking isn't necessary anymore) or oral consumption has almost no negative long-term effects. If you don't want your kids to smoke weed, how about you stop relying on messages of society and actually try talking to your kids. YOU are their parent. Driving under the influence is always going to be illegal. Colorado and Washington legalized weed, and guess what - it's still a crime to drive under the influence of any impairing drug. It should be mentioned also, that driving while high, while not advisable, is a lot safer than driving drunk.
RidgewoodResident December 10, 2012 at 06:15 PM
While at the start of his first term, the Obama administration raided many dispensary's, the policy is no longer to raid them as long as they are correctly following state law. However that doesn't stop the IRS from harassing them or them from not being eligible for tax credits. Prohibition of alcohol started to end because individual states stood up to the federal government and stopped enforcing their tyrannical laws.
JM Hurricane December 10, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I think this is a great idea. The faster we get drug users completely addicted to marijuana and then hard drugs such as crystal meth, cocaine and heroin, the faster they get lung cancer, brain damage, liver damage, cellular damage then death. The faster the cycle of getting idiots out of our society by their own hand. Unfortunatley, for the sober, contributing members of society we'll have to endure astronomical crime rates while getting through this "solution." Medical MJ Clinics are the New Birkenhau. Love it! Go America!
CMFAS55 December 10, 2012 at 08:02 PM
"Look above at some of these supporters comments. Filled with errors in spelling, punctuation and basic grammer." dummy
hrhppg December 10, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Yeah that Bernie Madoff what a drug abuser. Jeffrey Dahmer must have had the munchies to resort to cannibalism. That BTK killer all hopped up on goofballs.....oh wait none of those people did drugs JM so your point is.....?
William Mays December 11, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Wow, I think I'm suddenly getting glaucoma.
Steven Serebrenik December 11, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Funny William,
milly December 12, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Hey, think about all the traffic fines the court will be collecting after stopping these people. Maybe they will leave the drunks alone!


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