Newest N.J. legal weed store to open Friday –


EDITOR’S NOTE: NJ Cannabis Insider is hosting a day-long conference and networking event Sept. 15 at the Crowne Plaza Princeton, featuring many of the state’s leading power players. Tickets are limited.

Verano Zen Leaf Neptune Township will become New Jersey’s 18th store offering adult legal weed on Friday, when it opens with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. and recreational sales to commence at 9 a.m., according to township officials who received an email from the company announcing the launch.

“They’re going to cut the ribbon and they’re going to open,” Bernie Haney, Director of Land Use Development, for Neptune Township told N.J. Advance Media Monday afternoon.

Haney said he and other township officials were notified by Verano’s Executive Vice President Anthony Marsico in an email of Friday’s grand opening and time.

“We said all along we wanted to be involved in the cannabis market,” said Haney. “This is where we stick our big toe into the water Friday morning.”

Verano officials confirmed the Friday opening when told of Neptune Township officials’ reaction to it. The company plans to announce the opening to the media on Tuesday.

Adult recreational weed sales will launch at the company’s 15-month old medical dispensary at 2100 NJ Route 66. Verano — which operates under the Zen Leaf banner — said Friday’s event will include a Zen Leaf blimp flying overhead and free food giveaways. Customers will also find product specials, new live resin products, Zen Leaf branded tote bags, rolling papers, sunglasses and t-shirts.

Verano, a multi-state operator, received final state approvals from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission last Thursday – the final piece needed to launch adult weed sales in Neptune Township. That came three days after it received final municipal approvals from Neptune Township.

The company expanded to adult weed sales at its satellite stores in Lawrence and Elizabeth on April 21, along with a half dozen other multi-state operators as part of the statewide launch.

Since Gov. Phil Murphy signed the new cannabis law in February 2021, 17 locations throughout the state are now selling adult weed. The last to open was TerrAscend’s The Apothecarium Lodi with the state’s first drive-through lane on July 26.

Haney said Neptune Township is allowing up to three Class 5 adult use establishments, with one already taken by Verano Zen Leaf, and an unlimited number of other licenses in the other categories.

“Eighty percent of our town voted to approve legal cannabis,” Haney said. “The township committee took that to heart.”

Curaleaf in Bordentown, as well as Ascend in Montclair and Fort Lee, are also gearing up to add adult weed sales to bring the statewide total stores to 21.

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Suzette Parmley may be reached at or follow her on Twitter: @SuzParmley