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It used to be a pre-school, sitting next door to a bustling Dairy Queen in one of the busiest streets in the city. Now the converted building, featuring a beautiful mural outside and an artful esthetic indoors, houses the first independent legal cannabis store to open in Union County.

Queen City Dispensary, which takes its moniker from the city operates in, Plainfield, kicked off sales with a grand opening celebration on Sept. 7.

Owners Sarah Stretchberry and Jennifer Brandt said that they were overjoyed they’re finally opened.

“I was born and raised in Plainfield and in towns right next door. It’s a wonder that we have finally reached this point where a legal weed shop is in the city. We are excited to be the first,” said Brandt.

City administration, community members and cannabis industry insiders shared in the celebration with street vendor food and entertainment in the parking lot of the new adult-use cannabis dispensary, located 1353 South Ave. They cut the ribbon and officially opened doors at 4:20 p.m., a nod to the famous weed holiday 420.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, center, speaks during the opening ceremony at Queen City Dispensary in Plainfield on Thursday, September 7, 2023.John J. LaRosa For NJ Advance

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp spoke about the decade-long, billion dollar economic development campaign that his administration has undertaken to make use of blighted real estate throughout the city. He considers new cannabis businesses like Queen City to be a vital part of that plan.

“People from neighboring municipalities have always been shopping here for their joints,” said Mapp. “But they were coming here and we were not getting any revenue. All we were getting was crime.”

“We all know about the War on Drugs and what it has meant to the city of Plainfield. There have been a disproportionate number of our people that have suffered under the weight of the law on drugs,” he said.

He said he was committed to working with investors and developers to ensure that these impacted residents get a chance to be gainfully employed.

The opening ceremony, mastered by Economic Development Director Zenobia Fields, included a declaration that Sept. 7 will be Queen City Remedies Day in Plainfield. Comments from City Council President Charles McRae and co-owner Justin Singer were also given.

Co-owner Justin Singer, left, and Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, right, listen to Plainfield Economic Development Director Zenobia Fields speak during the opening ceremony at Queen City Dispensary in Plainfield on Thursday, September 7, 2023.John J. LaRosa