Cannabis dispensary celebrates its grand opening

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ROSELLE, NJ — Joyleaf Recreational Weed Dispensary celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, Feb. 29. In attendance were Councilwoman-at-Large Denise Wilkerson; Samantha Carpio, director of Economic Development for Roselle; and Renaee Smith, president of the Roselle Chamber of Commerce.

Located at 711 E. First Ave. in Roselle, Joyleaf had a soft opening in December. Founder Dharshini “Dharsh” Casinathen discovered that cannabis heals the body when she had gut issues and women’s issues back in 2018. She learned the history and science of the plant and together with business partner, Jason Ackerman, created Joyleaf.

Casinathen’s vision for Joyleaf is to establish a one-to-one experience to cater to individual requirements of the shopper. “Like a grocery store, different aisles are based on needs — socializing, sleep, chilling out after work,” she said.
The location of Joyleaf is in the spot of a factory owned by Ackerman’s family for 50 years. “In the ’70s, it was a manufacturing business,” he said. “Times change.”

Ackerman was the founder and CEO of FreshDirect and interim CEO of TerrAscend, and he currently has six board and adviser roles, including with Naked Marketing and The Boston Consulting Group. He said he believes that, with so many health benefits from cannabis, it should be out in the forefront.

“More money is spent on cannabis than alcohol,” he said. “I wanted to build a beautiful store and change the way people shop, for a more personal experience. They could see the products.”

Prior to the ribbon cutting, Casinathen said, “I’m so proud of this team. We employ 12 people here. They are Union County residents. We train in product knowledge and communication. Thank you to our team.”

She said they have 130 reviews on Google with a 4.9 rating. Positive feedback includes comments such as “Great customer service!” and “This place is amazing.”

Casinathen said the customer age range is from 21 to 90 years old. “It is rewarding to see,” she said.

There are, however, concerns that need to be taken into consideration.

Ackerman addressed the fears residents may have about a dispensary coming to town. To assure them that Joyleaf is a safe place to shop, he had Roger “Skip” Hutchins, a retired detective with Roselle Police Department, speak to the attendees.

“We don’t allow loitering outside. There are no long lines. Everything, since Joyleaf opened, is A-OK,” said Hutchins. “People from all walks of life come in. People from Kenilworth, Cranford, people in wheelchairs, people with canes. We scan you in to let us know your I.D. is valid. I’m here — just in case. I’ve walked customers to their car. I try to make myself accessible.”

“We take safety seriously,” Ackerman added. “We have shown we’re good citizens and proud of this town. Joyleaf is a local business that serves the local community.”

Joyleaf carries a variety of cannabis products, including New Jersey homegrown brands such as Mudd Brothers and ButACake. They also have a large assortment of all types of edibles, including Ozone, which has vegan soft chews in blood orange and green apple. There are also chocolates and mints.

Accessories include classic papers, hemp wraps, lighters, smoke odor sprays, candles, hand pipes, bowls and rolling trays.

To learn more about Joyleaf, visit

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta