Verano Zen Leaf Neptune Township became New Jersey’s 18th store offering adult legal weed via a ribbon cutting ceremony last weekend.
Bernie Haney, Director of Land Use Development, says he and other township officials were notified by Verano’s Executive Vice President Anthony Marsico. “We said all along we wanted to be involved in the cannabis market,” said Haney. “This is where we stick our big toe into the water.”
Recreational weed sales to adults will launch at the company’s 15-month old medical dispensary at 2100 NJ Route 66. Verano — which operates under the Zen Leaf banner — featured a Zen Leaf blimp flying overhead and free food giveaways at the opening. Customers will also find product specials, new live resin products, Zen Leaf branded tote bags, rolling papers, sunglasses and t-shirts.
Verano, a multi-state operator, received final state approvals from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission last Thursday – the final piece needed to launch adult weed sales in Neptune Township. That came three days after it received final municipal approvals from Neptune Township.
The company expanded to adult weed sales at its satellite stores in Lawrence and Elizabeth on April 21, along with a half dozen other multi-state operators as part of the statewide launch.
Since New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the new cannabis law in February 2021, 17 locations throughout the state are now selling adult weed. The last to open was TerrAscend’s The Apothecarium Lodi with the state’s first drive-through lane on July 26.
Haney said Neptune Township is allowing up to three licenses for Class 5 adult use establishments, with one already taken up by Verano Zen Leaf, and an unlimited number of other licenses in the other categories.
“Eighty percent of our town voted to approve legal cannabis,” Haney said. “The township committee took that to heart.”
Curaleaf in Bordentown, as well as Ascend in Montclair and Fort Lee, are also gearing up to add adult weed sales to bring the statewide total stores to 21.