Editor’s Note: NJ Cannabis Insider is hosting a two-day business and networking conference March 9-10 with some of the state’s most recognized industry leaders. Tickets are limited.
The New Jersey cannabis business is eager to roll up its sleeves and get to work now that the law is passed and the regulator that governs it is in place. And while there are many business questions about how the market will perform, how the state’s social justice regulations will take shape remains at the center of much of the conversation.
New Jersey is one of a handful of states that recently legalized cannabis and made social justice a core requirement for launch.
A priority for Dianna Houenou, who has been named chairman of the five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission by Governor Phil Murphy, is to ensure that barriers to entry to the cannabis market are lowered to ensure justice.
“That it is a meaningful opportunity for people, no matter what you look or what part of state you come from,” Houenou told NJ Cannabis Insider in November. “This requires a holistic understanding of why certain people may not have access to market entry and developing pathways that are specifically tailored to remove these barriers.”
Registration fees, high start-up costs and capital requirements, and nuanced compliance and tax structures were key factors in keeping out the very people who have been most harmed by the war on drugs, say advocates of social justice.
RELATED: NBA Veteran and Now Cannabis CEO to Speak at NJ’s premier cannabis conference.
The law limits cultivation licenses to 37 for the first two years, but the limit does not apply to licenses issued to micro-businesses – businesses with 10 employees or fewer and 2,500 square feet of cultivation space. Once it is operational, the Regulatory Commission will set the maximum number of licenses based on market demand. A third of the licenses are for equity applicants: 15% for minority-owned companies and 15% for women or disabled veterans.
NJ Cannabis Insider partnered with Senator Troy Singleton, NBA veteran and cannabis entrepreneur Al Harrington, Houenou, and many others at its virtual industry conference March 9-10 to help qualified stock applicants improve their chances of getting into success New Jersey’s cannabis room.
“The point here is to break down the barriers to entry. Networking, team building and education are essential, ”said David Serrano of Jersey City who co-founded Harvest360, a cannabis consultancy specializing in the intersection of research and development and technological applications in the cannabis space. “We want to make sure that social equity applicants have everything they need to be successful in this field.”
Eligible teams get access to industry-leading content and networking events through an annual NJ Cannabis Insider subscription, free tickets to the March event and the next NJ Cannabis Insider networking event.
All applicants will receive an invitation to free one-to-one coaching with industry leaders. The Harvest360 executive team will look for feasibility, sincerity, and professionalism in the answers, said Serrano, whose team recently launched a platform to accelerate social equity in Illinois.
To apply for the program, fill out this form. The application deadline is Saturday, March 6th, at midnight. The winners will be announced on Monday.
NJ Cannabis Insider is a weekly, subscription-based, online trade magazine and events group produced by NJ Advance Media and also publishes NJ.com, The Star-Ledger and other affiliated newspapers.