PATERSON, NJ - Paterson’s long awaited marijuana medical dispensary is set to welcome its first patients Saturday. 

Originally announced in December, 2018, the facility is owned by Green Thumb Industries (GTI), a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer. The Paterson location, called Rise Paterson, is GTI’s first medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey.

Mayor Andre Sayegh, who, reflecting on the city’s industrial past, has previously said that the city’s selection as a location for the growing industry shows that Paterson “can once again be on the right side of innovation” was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon on Friday and welcome the community for a tour on Friday.

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In addition to Rise’s retail dispensary, the company also opened a cultivation and processing facility on Getty Avenue with GTI setting a goal of creating 150 jobs when at full capacity. Sayegh believes this a “win-win” for Paterson stating emphatically that first and foremost that most of the employees will be from Paterson. Last month GTI hosted a job fair where an early count of applicants in attendance showed Patersonians outnumbering out-of-towners significantly.

The much anticipated revenue can not be understated, Sayegh added, offering finally that giving his constituents a local dispensary is vital for health reasons as well. 

Prior to Rise’s opening the closest medical marijuana facility were located in Secacaus and Montclair. 

Jeff Brown, Assistant Commissioner at the NJ Department of Health was also on hand for the ribbon cutting. Brown who oversees New Jersey’s Division of Medical Marijuana said demand is up significantly in the Garden State for medical marijuana and as the state looks to expand on that need, Paterson was clearly a city underserved. He’s thrilled that Paterson now has its own dispensary where patients can receive the care they need. 

The products available will be of the highest quality in the medical marijuana industry according to Devra Karlebach, CEO of GTI New Jersey who says patients can count on relief from a variety of conditions. 

Among the patients on hand at the community opening was Steve Demko who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. Demko, who is also a patient advocate, said his concern is that the correct strains of marijuana are made available for the specific conditions patients suffer from. For instance, what works well for his condition might not help someone who suffers from another ailment, he said. 

Elaine Richer, CEO at MyCureAll, a company that makes medical recommendations based on patient studies, says her company is in the business of alleviating Demko’s worries. There are approved strains to combat a myriad of diseases including alcoholism and even opioid abuse, and, as the industry grows so too will the research, development, and understanding, connecting patients, prescribers and dispensaries, Richer predicted. 

The road to opening the dispensary wasn’t always smooth, a couple attendees noted, with some opposition amongst the community materializing in the months since the license was originally approved by the state. Sixth Ward Councilman Al Abdleaziz sought to alleviate these concerns, including those from some parents who feared that a dispensary might make it easier for kids to get their hands on marijuana, when he hosted a town-hall style meeting with GTI leadership in March

Despite the growth of medical marijuana in the state, recreational marijuana remains illegal in New Jersey and there are still penalties for non-medical possession or sale of the substance. A ballot measure on the subject is expected to be put to voters in 2020.

Medical marijuana can be purchased with a physician’s approval from any state-licensed New Jersey cannabis dispensary. Physicians determine the proper dosage allowed for the patient with a maximum set of 2 ounces for a 30 day period. 

Rise Paterson is located at 196 3rd Avenue. Their doors will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 to 5:00 pm.

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