A medical marijuana store is planned for a Maple Shade location far from churches, schools, and homes so as not to upset any residents. "We tried to be sensitive to the community," said Andrei Bogolobov, spokesman for Compassionate Sciences Inc., a Sea Cliff, N.Y. non-profit.
The marijuana dispensary will be one of the first to open in New Jersey after a special law had to be passed to allow weed to be used by cancer sufferers and other patients to alleviate pain. The idea initially sparked fears that it could lead to the legalization of the drug, but state officials say the marijuana will be closely regulated and restricted to those with a doctor's prescription.
Compassionate Sciences must go before the town's zoning board on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m., to discuss its plans to open in the former Office Furniture Outlet at 2860 Route 73 North. Mike Nelson, who currently operates a marijuana dispensary in Montana, will tell the board about the operations that he will help the non-profit set up.
Even though the dispensary picked a spot that's zoned for business, "this is a unique use" and must be reviewed by the board, said town manager Gary LaVenia.
Initially, Gov. Chris Christie balked at approving the dispensaries, but later allowed the opening of six medical marijuana outlets throughout the state. All are expected to open early next year.
Bogolobov said the non-profit chose the Route 73 site because it is in a fairly isolated spot on a highway that's easily accessible to patients in South Jersey. He said the non-profit has not yet decided where it will locate it's indoor marijuana growing operation. But it's likely to be in Burlco, he said.
Another marjuana dispensary and growing center is planned for Westampton.