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EDITOR’S NOTE: NJ Cannabis Insider produces premium, exclusive weekly content and monthly events geared toward those interested in the marijuana and hemp industries. To subscribe, visit njcannabisinsider.biz

A new medical marijuana dispensary will open its doors Thursday, becoming the 12th in New Jersey.

Garden State Dispensary, which has other locations in Woodbridge and Union, will open its second satellite dispensary in Eatontown. It’s the first dispensary in Monmouth County, where 7,341 patients live, according to the state Department of Health.

The news comes just as Curaleaf, the largest company operating in New Jersey, announced it will open a second dispensary in Bordentown in early 2021. TerrAscend in Phillipsburg, MPX NJ in Atlantic City and Harmony in Hoboken all expect to open dispensaries in the coming months, too.

The state has sought to expand access to registered patients, who now number more than 85,000, and last year planned to license as many as 24 new medical marijuana businesses. But a lawsuit brought by several applicants denied early in the process has put the licenses on hold for nearly a year.

The state’s medical marijuana dispensaries have stayed open throughout the COVID-19 crisis, but many patients reported hours-long waits in March as thousands flocked to dispensaries to stock up on medicine.

“Expanding access to our growing patient population continues to be a high priority especially during these unprecedented times,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a statement. “The opening of this site will provide residents in the Monmouth County area better access to products they need to treat their conditions.”

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Amanda Hoover may be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj.

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