“People who were sentenced or had paid fines related to cannabis-related offenses were hoping for an opportunity or an entry point into this industry, because a lot of states have gone on to legalize, but haven’t been able to successfully develop social equity programs,” says Chirali Patel, owner of Blaze Responsibly.
Patel, who is an attorney, says that there are some concerns that entrepreneurs have faced since New Jersey legalized cannabis, specifically when it comes to licensing, social equity applications and funding.
“A lot of applicants don’t know where to get money in this industry, because you can’t go and get a traditional bank loan. It’s a lot of private equity, venture capital money, and getting to the table at these funds is not easy,” says Patel.
Patel also says the industry is lacking education about going into the legal weed business.
“We legalize an industry and then there's rules and regulations associated with that industry, but there's no education for the individual to understand what are these opportunities? What are these license categories? How do I even apply for one? Because it's brand new in this state for adult use. We've only had medical,” says Patel.