Medical marijuana dispensary opens on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — A medical marijuana dispensary opened on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood on May 7, expanding the footprint of where residents in the area can legally buy marijuana. The Apothecarium is the dispensary’s second location in New Jersey; the first is in Phillipsburg, with other branches in Pennsylvania, Nevada and California.

“It’s a welcoming town; it’s a very progressive town,” Diana McElroy, the company’s community outreach specialist, said in an interview with the News-Record on May 6. “Most people are pro medical use and adult use. We liked the diversity.”

Springfield Avenue in Maplewood is largely a business district; McElroy said other business owners on the street and in the rest of the area have been largely supportive of the Apothecarium.

“We were in touch with everyone,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of business owners, individuals and town officials. I would say the No. 1 question we got was about when we were opening. The town has been supportive.”

McElroy described the store as functioning like an Apple store; customers enter a showroom and a salesperson will assist them with finding what products they want to buy. Online ordering with express pickup is also available.

“Jobs have actually been expanding in the industry recently,” McElroy said.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed New Jersey’s cannabis legalization law on Feb. 22 after voters statewide approved legalizing it on the November ballot. Known as the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act, it establishes six marketplace classes of licensed cannabis businesses: cultivator, for facilities involved in growing and cultivating cannabis; manufacturer, for facilities involved in the manufacturing, preparation and packaging of cannabis items; wholesaler, for facilities involved in obtaining and selling cannabis items for later resale by other licensees; distributer, for businesses involved in transporting cannabis plants in bulk from one licensed cultivator to another licensed cultivator, or cannabis items in bulk from any type of licensed cannabis business to another; retailer, for locations at which cannabis items and related supplies are sold to consumers; and delivery, for businesses providing courier services for consumer purchases that are fulfilled by a licensed cannabis retailer in order to make deliveries of the purchased items to a consumer.

The state’s industry will be overseen by a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Right now the Apothecarium is able to sell only medical marijuana, but the hope is to expand to recreational as well.

“Eventually we’re hoping to move into recreational,” McElroy said. “We might have to reapply for our license, but we could also be grandfathered in. The regulatory body is writing the rules now, so we’ll see.”

Photos by Amanda Valentovic and Courtesy of Diana McElroy