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According to a recent report, women holding executive positions in the cannabis industry grew by only a percentage point over the past year — to 23.1%. The percentage is below the national averages for all businesses.
The primary goal of the upcoming New Jersey Business Action Center Cannabis Training Academy is to change that — increasing the number of diversely owned businesses.
It’s a tough task.
The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) has selected Jersey City attorney Jessica Gonzalez and her firm, Veridis Quo LLC, as its consultant to develop and launch the NJBAC Cannabis Technical Assistance Program and Training Academy.
Unfortunately, the patchwork of municipal policies enacted so far has created a limited and limiting licensing scheme locally that does not exist on the state level.
Sustaining any new business is challenging. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 20% of new businesses fail in the first two years; 45% during the first five years; and 65% during the first ten years. For cannabis businesses – that are subject to regulations governing licensing, cultivation, testing, selling, and purchasing cannabis – the challenges are greatly increased. The new HCCC programs are designed to assist in abating these challenges and helping new cannabis businesses achieve sustained success.
But of those 13 medical marijuana dispensaries that were first allowed to open, none appear to be owned by Black and Brown operators — despite the state’s often-stated public commitment to racial equity.
“I am seeing a lot of the community…both celebrating an historic moment, but at the same time also waiting to utilize their dollar bills and put them forth to these minority-owned local operators,” said Jessica Gonzalez, an attorney for Hiller PC focusing on state cannabis licenses.
But the Cannabis Regulatory Commission is also looking ahead to what the industry will look like once it gets off the ground so held a public hearing Thursday on what its rules should include regarding indoor and outdoor marijuana consumption lounges.
Suzaynn Schick, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco who studies air pollution and smoking, said smoking and vaping lounges aren’t safe for the people who work there, as cannabis smoke has the same potential health effects as smoke from cigarettes.
It’s been a year since New Jersey legalized the recreational use of marijuana for people ages 21 and older. How far are we from licensed retail sales?
The potential economic growth generated by New Jersey's nascent legalized cannabis industry was demonstrated at a cannabis entrepreneur conference held near Newark Liberty International Airport. The conference-goers exuded confidence that the brave new world created by the Garden State's recent legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use will spark up the sweet smell of success.
All cannabis consumption areas are required to reside on the same parcel as a dispensary. Developers must locate indoor consumption areas in a separate room from a dispensary’s retail floor, and outdoor consumption areas must have borders tall enough to prevent passersby from viewing the use of marijuana within the premises.
What’s in (and not in) A-21/S-21?
“[The bill] has been introduced as the most progressive cannabis legislation in the country yet it falls short of substantive social equity provisions seen in other states,” said Jessica Gonzalez, General Counsel for Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), in an email to Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.