Shroud of secrecy in the name of security hangs over Montclair marijuana clinic
Sunday, March 10, 2013 Last updated: Monday March 11, 2013, 7:37 AM
BY HARVY LIPMAN
The sidewalk view of the Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair — the only medical marijuana dispensary to open in the state so far — is less intimidating than, say, the entrance to Fort Dix.
But with its storefront composed of ink-black windows that prevent anyone from seeing inside and a door that can be opened only with a state-issued computerized swipe card, it’s hardly inviting either.
Inside, patients and visitors alike must sign in and provide state-issued ID to a security guard at the front desk.
Cameras — monitored by the state Department of Health — watch the foyer and waiting room. More of them overlook the dispensary area behind yet another locked door, which is accessible only to patients and staff.
Three years after New Jersey authorized the limited use of marijuana as a treatment for the sick — and three months after Greenleaf opened its doors — the present reality of the state’s experiment in alternative treatment comes down to this nondescript one-story building on Bloomfield Avenue. A recent tour offered a glimpse inside a system in a state of evolution.