NEPTUNE – As executives, employees and township officials cut the ribbon on New Jersey’s 16th medical marijuana dispensary, John Gray spoke up from behind a crowd of cameras. 

“So, where’s the line to get in?” 

Until Friday, Gray had been driving nearly an hour to buy medical marijuana at the Breakwater dispensary in Cranbury, which helps minimize the pain of a motorcycle injury that sometimes makes it difficult to sleep and eat.

Now, he’s just five minutes away from Zen Leaf Neptune, which officially opened Friday along Route 66, at the site of the former Smashburger restaurant.

“This is right up the street. It’s closer. It’s more convenient,” said Gray, a barber living and working in Neptune. “It keeps things legit. The fact that everybody can make money off of it, at the end of the day, it’s helping patients and everybody. Nobody’s doing it under the table.

“It’s actually helping to grow New Jersey.”

Zen Leaf Neptune just the second in Monmouth County, opening after a Garden State Dispensary satellite in Eatontown. The Jersey Shore has long been a desert for medical marijuana, despite nearly 20% of the state’s medical marijuana patients residing in Monmouth and Ocean counties. 

NJ medical marijuana:List of dispensaries in the Garden State

The Neptune

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