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The second phase of New Jersey’s Cannabis Equity Grant Programme has seen 48 cannabis businesses receive $12 million in grant funding.
The grants have been made possible following a further allocation of funding by Governor Phil Murphy.
The grants aim to support entrepreneurs to start and expand cannabis businesses in New Jersey. In particular, they aim to support people from communities that have been historically harmed by the War on Drugs – providing $250,000 for start up grants, one of the largest equity grants in the country.
New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) CEO, Tim Sullivan, and Chief Community Development Officer, Tai Cooper, were joined by Bloomfield Mayor, Michael J. Venezia and representatives of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) to announce the funding awards.
Governor Murphy stated: “As the cannabis industry continues to reach new heights in New Jersey, it is important that we build on our efforts to support the businesses seeking to enter and grow within this emerging market.
“The Cannabis Equity Grant Program allows us to simultaneously expand the pool of cannabis businesses in our state while also focusing on those communities most impacted by the unethical War on Drugs.
“As we work to create a stronger, fairer, and more equitable cannabis market, our Administration will continue to increase access and opportunity to the small businesses entering the industry.”
This current round of funding comes before the programme’s Phase 2 Seed Equity Grant which is set to launch later in 2023, 100% of which is reserved for qualifying social equity applicants.
These Phase II awardees will receive $150,000 in grant funds along with technical assistance, which will provide licensure process training, assistance in building a cannabis business team, financial management, guidance on securing investors and development of supply chain management.
Dianna Houenou, Commission Chair, NJCRC, added: “The NJEDA has brought the Cannabis Equity Grant Program to fruition and in so doing, has helped to set the New Jersey cannabis market as an example for the rest of the country.
“We were grateful NJEDA stepped up to partner with us and we were able to offer our insight into the cannabis industry and to present our vision for an equitable New Jersey market – with particular concern for those who lack access to personal or familial capital, or to traditional sources of business funding.
“We look forward to more grant funding for cannabis entrepreneurs that represent our local and diverse community. We look forward to even more targeted investment into social equity businesses and those owned by local minority-, women-, and disabled veteran-owned businesses. And we look forward to supporting the NJEDA as they make that happen.”