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Social Leaf Opens 4th Recreational Cannabis Only Dispensary in Ocean County, 32nd in NJ

Social Leaf opened the fourth recreational cannabis only dispensary in South Toms River and 32nd overall. They are the first cannabis dispensary open in Ocean County.

Social Leaf Dispensary Opens

They opened their doors on Friday. Social Leaf had a busy first day of New Jersey adult-use cannabis sales.

Social Leaf Ocean County cannabis Dispensary

They had products from the existing vertically integrated cannabis corporate Multi-State Operators (MSOs) dispensaries available. Social Leaf also had White Labeled products where companies have deals with licensed New Jersey cannabis manufacturers to enter the market.

Social Leaf Ocean County cannabis Dispensary

There are five co-owners of the company. Thomas Marino is a local barber who owned his shop. Co-owner John Earp also owns Bubby’s Beanery, a local coffeehouse. His wife, Jennifer, also owns shares in both. As Ocean County small business people, they gained the support of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office by delivering discounted coffees to a nearby hospital during the COVID pandemic. Frank Guzzi owns a local masonry business. Bill Hall is also a partner.

On February 2nd 2022, four Ocean County friends got together for a steak dinner in Asbury Park. Over Dinner we discussed the opportunity to open a legal recreational cannabis dispensary in South Toms River NJ. After many questions and long conversations, a deal was struck.

“Since that night there have been many ups downs and everything in between. But in the end one thing always remained, the 4 of us always conquered the very difficult terrain that lied beneath,” their Facebook page said.

They also thanked the South Toms River mayor, council, and Chief of Police.

“Being locally owned and operated, we are committed to providing you with the highest quality cannabis products and an exceptional experience,” they said on their Instagram page.

Social Leaf received their annual license from the  NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) in March. Thus, it continues the trend where conditional licenses, initially prioritized, are being left in the dust by annual licenses which are opening far quicker. Conditional licenses went to the minorities and Social Equity companies that the NJ-CRC initially prioritized.

Annual Licenses are usually better funded and run by White men.

The NJ-CRC has promised more conditional conversion awards would happen at their July meeting scheduled for next week.

Ocean County Dispensary Location Issues

Local politics complicate New Jersey and Ocean County cannabis dispensary locations. More Democratic towns like Jersey City and Trenton are at the forefront of allowing dispensaries. But Republican towns are even more hesitant. Ocean County is predominantly Republican.

Even Seaside Heights, where the infamous Jersey Shore show was filmed, known for its image as a party town, is reluctant to allow a dispensary. Conservative Republicans are unhappy about the social justice progress made to stop racist, pointless arrests for small amounts of cannabis. To prevent police brutality, New Jersey cops are now liable in court for their actions.

South Toms River is one of the few towns in Ocean County to allow cannabis dispensaries.

Local small business people like Jersey Shore Extracts are having difficulty opening due to the opposition.

New Jersey Adult Use Cannabis Dispensaries List Growing

The following is a list of the New Jersey recreational adult use cannabis dispensaries that are open:

  1. Social Leaf in South Toms River.
  2. Union Chill (an MSO) in Lambertville.
  3. Earth & Ivy in New Brunswick.
  4. Nova Farms (an MSO) in Woodbury.
  5. Holistic Solutions LLC in Atco.
  6. Valley Wellness LLC in Raritan Twp.
  7. Sweet Spot (an MSO) in Voorhees.
  8. Apothecarium Dispensary (an MSO) in Lodi.
  9. Apothecarium Dispensary in Maplewood.
  10. Apothecarium Dispensary in Phillipsburg.
  11. Ascend (an MSO) in Montclair.
  12. Ascend (an MSO) in Rochelle Park.
  13. Ascend in Fort Lee.
  14. BLOC (formerly Justice Grown) (an MSO) in Franklin Township.
  15. BLOC (formerly Justice Grown) in Ewing.
  16. The Botanist (an MSO) in Williamstown.
  17. The Botanist  in Egg Harbor Township.
  18. The Cannabist (an MSO) in Vineland.
  19. The Cannabist in Deptford.
  20. Curaleaf  (an MSO) in Bordentown Twp.
  21. Curaleaf in Bellmawr.
  22. Curaleaf in Edgewater Park.
  23. Ayr Wellness (Formerly GSD)  (an MSO) in Woodbridge
  24. Ayr Wellness in Eatontown
  25. Ayr Wellness in Union Township.
  26. Harmony Dispensary in Secaucus
  27. MPX NJ (an MSO) in Atlantic City
  28. Rise (an MSO) in Bloomfield
  29. Rise in Paterson
  30. Zen Leaf (an MSO) in Neptune
  31. Zen Leaf in Elizabeth
  32. Zen Leaf in Lawrence Twp.

(Photos courtesy of Charles Benson of Jersey Shore Extracts)

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