By LOUIS C. HOCHMAN
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed three bills that collectively legalize recreational marijuana and set up an industry to sell it — which could quickly the stage for medical marijuana dispensaries in Montclair to get in on the market.
Ascend Montclair, a cannabis dispensary located on Bloomfield Avenue and formerly known as the Greenleaf Compassion Center, was already planning a grand reopening for Monday night. By that time, bills the legislature had passed earlier to end marijuana arrests and create a legal marketplace would have gone into effect, even without the governor’s signature. Its invitations referenced a “modern retail cannabis experience.”
Also in the works: Lightshade, a cannabis dispensary brand, has said it intends to come to Montclair with a team led by Rohan Marley — son of reggae legend Bob Marley. That business is awaiting approvals including a state Department of Health review of its 2019 license application, which the business says said was held up along with others throughout the state because of an ongoing lawsuit. NJ.com reported a state appellate court ruled last week the applications can move forward.
“Lightshade is excited around recent events in New Jersey regarding legal cannabis, the first being the court’s decision to start processing medical dispensary applications, and the second being the opening of the Adult/Recreational marketplace,” Mike Leach, Lightshade’s chief operating officer, told Montclair Local in an email Monday. “Lightshade and its partners in New Jersey would welcome the opportunity to service both markets, and we look forward hearing potential good news about our medical application.”
Murphy, at a coronavirus press briefing Monday, said the new bills replace “New Jersey’s broken and indefensible marijuana laws, which permanently stained the records of many residents and short-circuited their futures, and which disproportionately hurt communities of color