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After awarding $12 million to help dozens of cannabusiness owners statewide get established in the legalized marketplace, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will soon begin accepting applications for the second phase of its Cannabis Equity Grant Program.
Under the next round, nearly $8 million will be made available to assist 48 startups with operational costs, as well as provide free technical assistance to help entrepreneurs build a successful company.
A year ago, ZenLeaf in Elizabeth was one of 13 dispensaries that officially opened for recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey. Since then, sales have been nonstop, according to general manager Sonny Achrekar. “We’re always get new people in and now that the weather is getting better, we’re going to get all the people flying in because we get all the airport traffic. So it’s just consistent,” he said.
Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIP), the first and only real estate company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: IIPR) focused on the regulated U.S. cannabis industry, announced today that it closed on the acquisition of a property in New Jersey, and entered into a long-term lease with a subsidiary of Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (AWH) at the property.
“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.
The cannabis bankruptcy filings are starting to roll in.
Already plagued by a tough regulatory environment, disappointing sales and capital markets that had closed to all but the strongest companies, the industry is now facing a pandemic-related collapse in stock markets and ever-shrinking financing options. Pot companies completed two capital raises worth just $5.6 million the week ended March 27, according to data from Viridian Capital Advisors. That’s the lowest level of activity this year and compares to 17 capital raises worth $169 million for the same period in 2019.
He's referring to a substance that's still illegal under federal law, which means that large, federally insured banks don't handle marijuana transactions. Even while touting a potential $75 billion investment opportunity in a research note to investors, the New York bank Cowen Inc. warned that marijuana businesses "may be at risk of federal and/or state criminal prosecution."
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) isn’t happy with new anti-cannabis guidance from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). In a recent letter addressed to SBA head Linda McMahon, Rep. Blumenauer decried a new policy that restricts federal loans to businesses working within or with clients in the legal marijuana industry, calling on the agency to revoke the new rule immediately.