TRENTON — New Jersey now has two more medical marijuana dispensaries.

The state Department of Health this week issued permits to Zen Leaf in Elizabeth, which will open Friday, and Columbia Care, which will open early June in Vineland.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the new dispensaries will allow patients to better access their medicine during the pandemic.

In March, the state provided waivers to allow dispensaries to provide curbside pick-up, telephone consultations, bulk discounts and reduced caregiver fees.

The new dispensaries open months before voters will be asked whether to approve recreational marijuana in New Jersey. The Legislature in December placed the question on the ballot after failing to reach consensus on full legalization, which Gov. Phil Murphy had strongly supported during his campaign for governor.

A Monmouth University poll last month found that more than 60% of New Jersey voters would likely vote in favor of full legalization in November.

New Jersey's medical marijuana program serves 77,000 patients, 3,000 caregivers and 1,100 physicians.

The two new dispensaries join nine others in operation:

The Botanist (Compassionate Care Foundation) of Egg Harbor and Atlantic City

Garden State Dispensary of Woodbridge and Union Township

Curaleaf NJ in Bellmawr

Harmony Dispensary in Secaucus

Rise in Paterson

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email

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