A medical marijuana facility in Egg Harbor Township has received approval from the state to begin growing its plants.

The news means the facility could be the second to distribute medical marijuana in the state.

David Knowlton, chairman of the board of the Compassionate Care Foundation Inc.’s facility in Egg Harbor Township, said they received the permit from the state Department of Health on Thursday.

It will take the facility 60 to 90 days to grow its plants. Knowlton said they hope to open at the former Trump Entertainment warehouse in the Offshore Commercial Park off Delilah Road in early September for patients who registered with the state.

“We know there are quite a lot of people who need access to this medication,” he said. “We’re excited for it. We’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

Donna Leusner, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, said the permit was issued after a comprehensive review, including several site inspections, background checks of its corporate officers and a review of its security operations and cultivation facility.

Once the plants have been grown, the state will have to issue another license before marijuana can be dispensed to patients, she said.

About 1,000 patients are registered with the Medicinal Marijuana Program, she said. Additionally, 223 physicians are enrolled in the program, she said.

Compassionate Care expects to treat about 500 customers a month when it is fully operational.

State lawmakers created New Jersey's medicinal marijuana program in January 2010. Critics have accused the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, with delaying the creation and implementation of the regulations needed to operate the program.

There is only one medical marijuana dispensary — the Greenleaf Compassion Center, which opened in Montclair, Essex County in December.

Medical marijuana in New Jersey

For a list of physicians enrolled in the medical marijuana program visit www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/find_phy_pat.shtml.

New Jersey residents interested in registering for the medicinal marijuana program may do so by accessing www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/pat_reg.shtml.

Additional information about the program, including contact information for the ATCs, is available at www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/index.shtml.


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Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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