January 14, 2023
A New Jersey pharmacy is looking to make history as the first in the country to operate as a drug store and marijuana dispensary for medical and recreational cannabis.
Bell Pharmacy, located at 1201 Haddon Avenue in Camden County, N.J., is waiting to be approved for an annual cannabis license, KYW reported. Because the store has two legal addresses, it makes it easier to operate both businesses.
This would be the first cannabis dispensary in the city of Camden. Bell has operated since 1931 and is renovating its second floor to add the marijuana dispensary. The project is a full circle moment for a business that sold weed to customers during the 30s before alcohol prohibition in the United States.
"We're doing something that's never been done not only in the state but not done anywhere. And that is the idea of a pharmacy also serving as a cannabis dispensary," Bell Pharmacy owner Tom Minniti told NBC10.
Minniti added that the idea came from customers asking why he did not sell marijuana, which became legal during the 2020 election. The legal sale officially started in April 2022 for adults 21 and older.
He said the project is two-fold: "One, some of the older people in our neighborhood wanted to come in with their parents asking if we have medical cannabis. It's something that I never really contemplated." And the second part is the access for recreational users for vapes, gummies, and edibles.
Minniti anticipates that the approval will come sometime in March, and he will start selling weed soon after. While he is waiting, he says he already has several suppliers from the West Coast who want to sell their products in Bell Pharmacy.
Once the dispensary is open, Minniti plans to hire people with marijuana convictions to work in his store.
In 2021, New Jersey began to expunge lower-level marijuana cases through The Marijuana Decriminalization Law. New Jersey offers expungement for low-level cases such as people convicted of distribution of marijuana less than 1 ounce or hashish less than 5 grams and possessing more than 50 grams of marijuana.
Leafly, a marijuana news and retail website data says that there were 428,059 jobs in the country's legal cannabis space as of last February.