The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) awarded $12 million of grant funding to 48 marijuana businesses. This is an increase from the originally planned 24 awards, thanks to a further allocation of available funding by Governor Phil Murphy.
This investment aims to help entrepreneurs, especially those from communities historically harmed by the War on Drugs, to start and expand their cannabis businesses in New Jersey. Each awardee will receive a $250,000 grant, the largest cannabis social equity grant of its kind in the nation, according to a news release.
First Round of Funding
Phase 1 of the program, dubbed the Joint Ventures Grant, aims to help entrepreneurs cover the cost of transitioning from a temporary, or conditional, license to an annual permit, the release noted. Social equity applicants received 40% of this round of funding and 5% are businesses located in “Impact Zones,” or communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition.
“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,” said Governor Murphy in a statement. “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.”
Second Round of Funding
The next round of funding, called the Seed Equity Grant, will launch later this year. This phase will ensure the communities most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs have equitable access to the cannabis industry. Social equity applicants will receive 100% of the $150,000 grants in addition to “technical assistance,” such as training, recruiting and developing supply-chain management.