Black Ownership Questions and Delays Frustrate NJ Cannabis Industry

The NJ cannabis industry is frustrated by the seeming lack of cannabis companies owned by Black businesspeople, along with delays rewarding conditional licenses and opening the market.

Conditional licenses were designed to be easier to obtain since site control and town approval is not needed. That is supposed to make it easier for those with fewer resources to obtain.

“Out of the 56 licenses awarded to date, none has been awarded to a Black-owned business. People need to know what’s going on,” said African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey President and CEO John E. Harmon Sr.

“I am outraged to hear that Black-owned businesses have been shut out of the state’s cannabis marketplace,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10).

“It is false that none of the awardees are black-owned,” NJ CRC Communications Director Toni-Anne Blake said.

“New Jersey has a chance to correct this inequality and allow people abused by the system to finally benefit from it with a fair distribution of cannabis business licenses. Instead, we are seeing the same inequality with these licenses that we see in marijuana arrests,” Payne Jr. said.

Blake questioned their source of information.

Harmon said credible sources thoroughly researched public information and determined there were no black owners.

Darrin Chandler Jr. of Premium Genetics Partners said he thoroughly researched the owners based on the CRC’s information. He argued an African American license winner would have made themselves known, or someone was used to hide the real owners of a company.

NJ CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) President Ed DeVeaux said he spoke with one of the 2019 medical cannabis license winners who is indeed a Black woman.

“Could we have done better? The answer is yes,” he added. “I think we are still short on the effort to award licenses to African Americans.”

“The CRC is committed to doing everything we can to facilitate a diverse cannabis industry. The only awards issued so far have been for medicinal cannabis businesses, and the statutorily mandated RFA process for medicinal cannabis was substantially different from the process currently in place for recreational cannabis,” Blake said

Chandler noted the number of black-owned cannabis companies in the state cannabis markets is very low.

This is why many advocates are passionate about creating a New Jersey cannabis industry featuring small businesspeople along with numerous African American and Hispanic owners.

Missed Deadlines Delay NJ Cannabis Industry

Last week, Executive Director Jeff Brown noted at the NJ Marijuana Regulatory Commission meeting that “given the volume and we’re a new agency still staffing up, it is unlikely we will hit the 90 days turnover.”

“Could we have done better? The answer is yes,” he added. “I think we are still short on the effort to award licenses to African Americans.”

“The CRC is committed to doing everything we can to facilitate a diverse cannabis industry. The only awards issued so far have been for medicinal cannabis businesses, and the statutorily mandated RFA process for medicinal cannabis was substantially different from the process currently in place for recreational cannabis,” Blake said

Chandler noted the number of black-owned cannabis companies in the state cannabis markets is very low.

This is why many advocates are passionate about creating a New Jersey cannabis industry featuring small businesspeople along with numerous African American and Hispanic owners.

Missed Deadlines Delay NJ Cannabis Industry

Last week, Executive Director Jeff Brown noted at the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission meeting that “given the volume and we’re a new agency still staffing up, it is unlikely we will hit the 90 days turnover.”

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