Verano NJ’s Zen Leaf alternative treatment center opened in Elizabeth over the weekend, becoming the 10th dispensary to open in the state.
The multi-state operator, which has locations in six other states as well as Puerto Rico, began growing cannabis at its cultivation site in Readington in February when it obtained Department of Health certification to do so.
According to a NJDOH spokesperson, New Jersey currently has 12 active cultivation sites and 10 active dispensaries. At least three dispensaries are expected to open over the next several months to supply the more than 77,000 patients statewide with medical cannabis, the spokesperson said.
Zen Leaf is located at 117 Spring St. in Elizabeth.
“Our mission is to help guide patients along their path to wellness and elevated quality of life. That pursuit feels ever more important in times like these,” said George Archos, chief executive officer of Verano NJ, in a prepared statement. “We are extremely grateful to the NJ Department of Health for their considerable efforts in helping us get up and running amidst extraordinary circumstances. Their support enables us to do what we do best; to help our patients and communities by making effective medical cannabis solutions accessible and identifying tailored regimens to address to individual needs.”
Zen Leaf is operating with capacity limits until further notice, but the dispensary is open and seeing patients.
“This isn’t how we’d envisioned our grand opening,” Archos said of opening Zen Leaf during the global COVID-19 health crisis that has provoked businesses in every sector to instate measures to prevent the virus’ spread, “but we’ve adapted, and our primary concern is providing attentive patient care while keeping our team and community out of harm’s way as best we can. For now, that means observing social distancing but making ourselves available to support patients in any way we can.”
Zen Leaf offers a variety of medical cannabis options including flower, vapes, lozenges, topicals and tinctures.
Verano NJ beat out 140 other ATC operators during the 2018 application process, but is only the second 2018 awardee to open its dispensary after Green Thumb Industries’ Rise Dispensaries opened in Paterson in December.