TRENTON, N.J. -

New Jersey's Health Department says it's issuing its first license to allow a medical marijuana dispensary to open.

Officials announced Monday that Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Montclair has cleared all the hurdles to open as an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC).

N.J. Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd says she expects the dispensary will not be able to open immediately. But she says the center can begin scheduling appointments with qualified patients.

Five other centers have been picked by the state and are in planning stages.

Patients and caregivers will receive identification cards this week from the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP). Greenleaf will contact patients to schedule an appointment in the order in which patients registered.

Patients and caregivers must bring their MMP identification card with them to the appointment.

Approximately 320 patients have either registered with the program or are in the process of completing registration, while more than 175 physicians have registered, officials said.

"This is a new product. Patients may want to make a limited purchase initially until they know which of the three available varieties best meets their needs," O'Dowd said. "ATCs can also provide guidance to patients on ways to use the product without the harmful effects of smoking."

Patients interested in registering should ask their doctor if he or she has signed up or would be willing to participate. If their physician is not interested-patients can check on the Department's Medicinal Marijuana webpage for physicians who have registered. The webpage provides a physician listing by county.

A customer service line is available to assist patients, caregivers and physicians in the registration process. The line, (609) 292-0424, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For questions, visit the N.J. Health Commission website.