Third medical marijuana dispensary opens
TRENTON - New Jersey's third medical marijuana dispensary opened Wednesday inside a former electronics store in Woodbridge.

The Garden State Dispensary, previously known as the Compassionate Care Center of America, joins two other alternative-treatment centers that have opened in other parts of the state in the past year.

The Compassionate Care Foundation began selling medical marijuana to registered patients at a former casino warehouse in Egg Harbor Township in late October. The first dispensary, Greenleaf Compassion Center, opened in Montclair, in North Jersey, last December. Garden State Dispensary is in Middlesex County, in central New Jersey.

More than 1,500 patients have registered with the program since its inception in 2010, according to the state Department of Health.

Three other dispensary operators have been selected by the department and recently found locations after facing several hurdles obtaining approvals. Among them is a dispensary that is expected to open in Bellmawr, Camden County, next year. The three dispensaries are all awaiting final approvals.

"The department is working with all the ATCs [alternative treatment centers] on successful permitting," Dawn Thomas, a department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

- Jan Hefler