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First medical marijuana dispensary leads the way in New Jersey

Change can take time. In New Jersey, for example, lawmakers have been discussing legalizing medical marijuana for years, but the first shop to legally dispense the drug opened just last week.

On Dec. 5, the Greenleaf Compassion Center opened its doors and served a reported 20 patients. A security guard stood outside of the dispensary, ensuring that anyone who entered had a medical marijuana card in order to get in. The store is taking things slowly, probably in order to avoid falling into any trap of drug laws.

Because marijuana laws are changing, living according to those changes can be sort of scary and confusing. Dispensary businesses might be licensed to give marijuana to patients and patients might have the medical cards to get marijuana, but taking part in that exchange can be intimidating. Many might think, "Am I doing this right? Will the police find a reason to arrest me related to this marijuana?"

The federal government's take on marijuana further complicates the legal situation in New Jersey and other states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Federal law still prohibits the sales and use of marijuana, no matter what. That point tends to scare people out of living by the more progressive drug laws of their own states.

Some in New Jersey are happy that at least the one medical marijuana dispensary has opened. They understand that there are people who are sick and in pain who will benefit from being able to rely on marijuana as a treatment.

There is more to medical marijuana laws than the simple idea that pot is legal for certain patients. Our next post will give more details about the new drug laws in New Jersey.

Source:, "N.J.'s first medical marijuana clinic finally opens, welcoming 20 patients," Susan K. Livio, Dec. 6, 2012