‘This is what we work for.’ New Jersey’s marijuana dispensaries set to begin public sales

Preparations were underway on Friday at some of New Jersey’s medical marijuana facilities that will open to the general public for the first time this upcoming Thursday.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced this week that the general public can purchase recreational marijuana starting on April 21.
“This is what we worked for. Like, we’re about to play the Super Bowl and it’s showtime,” says Joe LoRusso, general manager of Zen Leaf in Lawrence.
LoRusso says that the inventory is stocked and ready for the big day.
“The first day of adult-use sales in New Jersey is going to be groundbreaking, set the benchmark for other states down the line,” he says. “We are expecting and planning for just about everything. Whether that be crazy lines, people showing up the night before. We're ready to handle whatever but we are expecting big things.”
LoRusso describes Zen Leaf as “a hospital and a convenience store for your adults that are looking to unwind, have fun.”
He says that there will be enough product for the medicinal customers who already patronize the store.
“We have taken every precaution,” says LoRusso.
As well as new customers who are expected to show up on April 21.
“Shakes, smalls, whole buds, vape cartridges,” he says.
LoRusso says that he has tried about 90% of the strains of marijuana that Zen Leaf offers.
“Before being the general manager of this location, I was inventory manager,” he says.
But LoRusso cautions that customers won’t be able to light up inside of the store.
“Absolutely not. Nope. As far as state regulation, consumption on the dispensary grounds is forbidden,” he says.
Workers at Zen Leaf are not allowed to use cannabis on the job.
“Zero tolerance for me. I do understand, I have compassion. I'd say a good 95% of the staff is medical patients. If they do need to, they have to step off ground,” LoRusso says.
And because of federal laws, all sales will be cash only for the time being.
“It's a childhood dream for every employee here to be on the front lines of opening,” he says.
Seven medicinal marijuana treatment centers operating a total of 13 stores have been cleared by the state to start selling marijuana to recreational customers.