TRENTON, NJ -- In an effort to make minority ownership of medical cannabis dispensaries more accessible, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by State Senator Troy Singleton to remove certain restrictions on ownership.
Current law provides that, subject to certain exceptions, no entity may hold more than one medical cannabis cultivator, manufacturer or dispensary permit.
The bill, S-2875, would establish a new ownership exception to expand access to investments for women, minority and disabled-veteran owned businesses. The exception would allow an investor, investor group, or fund that provides significant financial or technical assistance or the significant use of intellectual property to an applicant for a medical cannabis dispensary permit that has been certified as a minority, women, or disabled-veterans' business, to own up to 40 percent interest in up to ten certified minority, women's or disabled veterans' businesses that have been issued a medical cannabis dispensary permit.
“We have seen here in New Jersey, and around the country, that legal cannabis businesses tend to lack diversity both in gender and race amongst its ownership ranks. This proposal would aim to remedy this issue by removing a significant barrier to entry for historically disadvantaged groups,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington), who represents Bordentown in the Legislature. “It would allow prospective license holders to partner with investors already in the industry to obtain the capital investments they need to get their operation up and running while ensuring they maintain majority ownership of the business.”
Under the bill, the investor, investor group or fund could not take majority control of the entity that holds a medical cannabis permit; the controlling interest could only be transferred to a certified minority or women’s business or a disabled-veterans’ business.
The bill would further allow an entity issued a medical cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, or dispensary permit, or an individual associated with the ownership or management of the entity, to participate in an investor group or fund that meets the requirements of the bill.
Medical marijuana has been in the news in Bordentown, as the Township Planning Board approved the plans for the building of a dispensary in the Township in September.
Curaleaf, a Massachusetts-based company that serves more than 350,000 registered patients in twenty-three states around the country, got preliminary and final site plan approval on its proposal to open a location at 191 Route 130 North, currently occupied by Stony Brook Sew and Vacuums.
The Bordentown site will be for retail sales only, and that cultivation, manufacturing and packaging would not occur there.
The application that was approved is strictly for medical marijuana, and that if recreational marijuana is legalized in the state of New Jersey, Curaleaf would have to come back to the Board for a use approval to expand beyond the medical dispensary- if they chose to go that route.