The New Jersey Department of Health has announced this afternoon that the Greenleaf Alternative Treatment Center will not be ready for a final inspection for several weeks because Montclair Township has yet to issue approval for the Center's Certificate of Occupancy (CO).

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This means it is likely that New Jerseyans eligible for medicinal marijuana to ease the pain caused by their chronic illnesses will be waiting even longer than expected to get the drug.

The Department of Health must wait until Greenleaf gets its CO before it can perform a final inspection and determines if Greenleaf has satisfied all of the necessary requirements. Once that happens, a permit would be issued to begin distribution of medicinal marijuana.

In order to help speed up the process, the Department of Health's Medicinal Marijuana Program will be at Greenleaf working with them every day so they are ready for their final inspection and able to receive a state permit to dispense once their issues with Montclair are resolved.

As of today, 239 patients have either registered with the program or are in the process of completing registration. More than 170 physicians have registered. The other five Alternative Treatment Centers are in various stages of either finalizing locations or having background examinations completed of the principals of their organizations.

The Department of Health says it has been and will continue updating patients and doctors on all developments. Anyone with questions is being asked to call the program's Customer Service unit at 609-292-0424.