Pubdate: Thu, 25 Oct 2012
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Hearst Communications Inc.
Page: A9


Suburb's pot to be easy to find

Across New Jersey, most communities approached about hosting one of
the state's first legal medical marijuana dispensaries in
out-of-the-way industrial zones have just said no.

Montclair is a different story.

The cosmopolitan suburb a half-hour train ride from Manhattan has not
only allowed Greenleaf Compassion Center - which last week received
the state Health Department's first license to begin providing pot to
patients - but also let the not-yet-opened business set up in the
middle of the town's main drag, and with no fuss.

The town of 38,000 is sometimes called "the Upper West Side of New
Jersey." There's an art museum, an international film festival, a
Whole Foods, Thai restaurants, racks for commuters' bikes, and the
headquarters of Garden State Equality, New Jersey's largest gay-rights

The population - 62 percent white, 27 percent black - is racially
integrated and largely well-to-do. The median household income is $140,000.

And the idea of tolerance is part of the town's identity. In a scene
in "Mad Men," a TV drama set in the 1960s, characters who went to
Montclair for a party were stunned to see black and white revelers
together - and marijuana being passed around.

In the eyes of the federal government, medical marijuana is still an
illegal drug. But seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have flouted
federal law and passed some sort of statute to allow patients access
to the drug.

Each state has its own model for how the cannabis can be distributed.
New Jersey is not allowing registered patients to grow their own, and
is limiting the potency, amount and variety of pot patients can buy.
There's a relatively short list of conditions that qualify patients
for the drug, and unlike some more lenient states, chronic pain and
anxiety aren't on it.

Only New Jersey residents are eligible. New York, easily reachable by
rail, does not allow medical marijuana.
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