New Montclair dispensary opens at site of NJ's first medical marijuana shop – NorthJersey.com


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MONTCLAIR — The first medical marijuana dispensary in the state, formerly Greenleaf Compassion Center, has reopened as Ascend, which is owned by multi-state cannabis operator Ascend Wellness Holdings. 

Ascend officials said the redesigned dispensary has an expanded line of cannabis products and will be open for longer hours on more days of the week.

“The feedback from the original owner is that the product line was always lean; patients couldn’t always get what they wanted,” said CEO and founder Abner Kurtain. 

Greenleaf Compassion Center was founded by Julio Valentin, who sold the facility to Ascend last year. He will continue to operate Greenleaf Café next door. 

Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti and Deputy Chief Wilhelm Young, Essex Freeholders Carlos Pomares and Brendan Gill, and Montclair Councilor Bob Russo at the opening of AscenD Wellness, a medical marijuana operator on Bloomfield Avenue on Feb. 23, 2021. (Photo: Julia Martin)

A second medical marijuana dispensary could join Ascend on Bloomfield Avenue by year’s end. Colorado-based Lightshade Labs has an application pending with the state Health Department; approval has been delayed by COVID and lawsuits by operators whose applications were denied, say Lightshade officials. 

Lightshade’s local team includes Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend and cannabis advocate Bob Marley. Rohan Marley raised five children in South Orange with Grammy winner Lauryn Hill. 

Such dispensaries serve only holders of medical marijuana cards, who use weed for conditions such as pain and anxiety. However, with new laws permitting the sale of recreational weed at state-licensed dispensaries, the operators have footholds to expand into recreational weed.

In answer to questions about Ascend’s plans to sell recreational marijuana, Kurtain said, “We’d love to see this location expand. Let’s see

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