Minority Entrepreneurs Boosted At N. J. Cannabis Event

New Jersey is known as the Garden State and the cannabis business community is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting to work now since laws are in place and the regulatory body to govern it has been seated. Business questions abound about how the marketplace will open up and how the state’s social equity provisions will take shape shaping much of the conversation.  New Jersey is among a handful of states that recently legalized cannabis and made social equity a core requirement of market rollout.

Dianna Houenou was appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy to chair the five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission and one of her priorities is making sure the barriers of entry to participate in the cannabis market are lowered to make it more equitable. “That it is a meaningful opportunity to people no matter what you look like or which part of the state you come from,” Houenou told NJ Cannabis Insider in November. “That will require a holistic understanding of why certain people might not have access to entering the market and devising ways that are specifically tailored to tackling those barriers.”

Many of the sticking issues revolve around application fees and high startup costs including huge capital requirements to become involved. There are also issues regarding compliance and tax structures which have been the key factors in keeping out the very people who were most harmed by the War on Drugs, say social equity advocates.

According to the law, even though cultivation licenses are capped at 37 for the initial first two years, the limit doesn’t apply to licenses awarded to micro-businesses which are defined as firms of 10 employees or less and 2,500 square feet of growing space. Once up and running, the regulatory commission will establish the maximum number of licenses based on market demand. A third of the licenses are set aside to equity applicants: 15% to businesses owned by minorities and 15% to women or disabled veterans.

“This all about reducing the barriers of entry. Networking, building teams and educating is critical,” said Jersey City-native David Serrano, who with fellow veterans co-founded Harvest360, a cannabis consulting company specializing in the intersection of research and development and technological applications within the cannabis space. “We want to make sure social-equity applicants have everything they need to succeed in the space.” All applicants will receive an invitation to a free one-on-one coaching session with industry leaders. Harvest360′s executive team will look for business feasibility, sincerity and professionalism in the responses, said Serrano, whose team recently rolled out a social equity accelerator platform in Illinois.

Cannabis Grow Builders has been involved in the emerging legal Cannabis Industry as a builder and developer of grow facilities since 2016. Daniel Stevenson and his team work with Cannabis Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs to maximize the potential in their business while remaining on the cutting edge of constantly changing governmental regulations. Please reach out to us at 916-933-7333, via e-mail at daniel@cannabisgrowbuilders.com

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