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Ocean County's first legalized cannabis business has opened as of July 5, and the team at Waretown's Bloc Dispensary encourages residents to throw out their old-fashioned ideas about marijuana and give them a chance.
Bloc Dispensary, located at 501 U.S. 9 South, is a purely medical cannabis facility, as required by Waretown's laws. You need to have a medical marijuana card to even enter the store.
Patch was there on its opening day as a steady amount of customers entered the store, hoping to get their hands on the products they needed.
When Gerry McGrath learned Barnegat Township planned to ban local marijuana sales, she decided she needed some answers from her town’s governing body.
Gerry, a retired nurse, saved her questions for the public hearing on the ordinance that would ultimately prohibit recreational cannabis sales in the southern Ocean County community.
Now that New Jersey has legalized marijuana use and possession for adults 21 years and older, South Jersey municipalities have begun adopting their own rules to address use and sale. Under the N.J. Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act towns have until Aug. 21 - 180 days from the adoption of the state law - to create any local enforcement structure. Towns that do not act by then will be governed by the state's law.
Here's how communities are responding in South Jersey:
As of August 2019, there were more than 60 local ordinances banning either all marijuana sales and growth, or just recreational forms of the drug.
For many, the issue has been a polarizing one.
In Somerset County, a proposed ordinance in North Plainfield to ban recreational and medical marijuana retail stores and facilities was tabled at a Dec. 2018 meeting, according to the clerk's office.