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Multiple New Jersey Weed Stores/Cannabis Dispensaries Open

Multiple New Jersey weed stores or adult use cannabis dispensaries have opened including Organic Farms dispensary, Camden Apothecary, and 1634 Funk in Jersey City.

Organic Farms Opens 1st Camden Cannabis Dispensary

Organic Farms, a Hispanic-owned micro cannabis dispensary with a drive-thru had its grand opening recently in the City of Camden in Camden County. They were the very first to open in the city.

The Grand Opening featured live performances by Afroman and DJ Mr. Mixx, food trucks, and many vendors. Organic Farms dispensary Founder Dominic Rivera said he has investors who had connections to Mr. Mixx and Afroman which helped bring them up. City officials were there too at the Grand Opening. 

“Our grand opening was a celebration of breaking barriers and embracing a future that uplifts every member of our community,” Rivera explained.

Organic Farms had a quiet soft opening in October.

They have opened the first drive-thru dispensary in South Jersey. It’s the first independent New Jersey cannabis dispensary drive-thru. If you order online, the drive-thru process is very quick.

Opening Organic Farms Dispensary

Initially, they wanted to start with a cultivation site, hence the name. Rivera explored hemp farming in Puerto Rico first. But he saw the cost of a cultivation site is much higher. In the future, they are interested in growing.

“A lot of people especially in the city of Camden, it still has a bad stigma. I want to educate people on it… in the store. We can educate them and answer any questions,” Rivera explained.

He noted it was a process to educate the City of Camden. Rivera worked with the Mayor and the Council on their cannabis law.

“We all got together and worked with the city. They were very excited about it. They knew it would bring revenue to the city and help it,” Rivera noted. 

Initially, “they didn’t know much about it.” The process took some time.

“Camden wanted to make sure they got everything right the first time,” he explained.

A New Jersey Weed Store in Camden and the Community

“We like to give back to the City of Camden. The City of Camden has been very supportive and shown a lot of love,” Rivera declared.

He said they helped with food drives and COVID-19 treatment 

“We want to show love to the community and hopefully they’ll show love to us,” Rivera added.

He has lived in Camden all his life. Rivera opened a CBD store in South Philly 1st. Initially, he worked for Wells Fargo.

Rivera cashed out his 401K retirement plan and lived a very basic life to save money to open. Also, he explained through families and friends and connections he met at cannabis conventions they were able to secure the money and open. 

“I love the cannabis community. Everybody’s so nice. They’re loving. They want to help,” Rivera said.

He said many of his friends were locked up for cannabis. Rivera said wished he could have helped his late mother through medical cannabis.

Former Cinnaminson Mayor and Pharmacy Owner Opens Camden Apothecary

Also, in Camden, former Cinnaminson Mayor and Bell Pharmacy owner Anthony Minniti has opened the Camden Apothecary.

New Jersey Weed Store Camden Apothecary cannabis dispensary

(Minniti is a Heady NJ Patreon supporter, full disclosure.) 

Apothecary was what pharmacies used to be called.

It is an adult use/recreational cannabis dispensary. 

“It’s rare you get to be part of a pioneering industry. So it’s exciting stuff,” Minniti declared. 

He has been the owner of Bell Pharmacy since 1997. Minniti grew up in the city before moving to Cinnaminson, where he was elected. He said he started working in his grandfather’s Camden pharmacy when he was 14.

Nimble Independent Cannabis Dispensary

“I do the things chains don’t do. One of those things is to pivot quickly. They’re … like an aircraft carrier. What works in Jersey won’t work in Pennsylvania necessarily,” he explained.

“I have a good sense of what my community needs… and what the region is looking for,” Minniti added. “That’s a reason why we’re still around after all these years while a lot of people went out of business.”

Bell Pharmacy is one of the oldest independent pharmacies in the state he explained. After buying it, Minniti found a bottle of a tincture of legal medical cannabis from when it was legal in the early 1900s in the basement.

The former owners also left two proprieties next to each other as part of the sale of the pharmacy. So his dispensary, Camden Apthohecary, is next to Bell Pharmacy. There is a door between the two places. He compared it to a department store.

“They’re distinct and separate from a regulatory standpoint,” Minniti noted.

NJWeedman is doing the same thing in Trenton.

Pharmacies can sell drinks for cottonmouth when you get thirsty after smoking weed, along with munchies for when you get hungry.

“There’s always be co-uses with pharmacies,” he noted.

Opening in Camden

Minniti first applied in 2018 for a New Jersey medical license but lost. 

“We got bounced on what constitutes local approval,” he noted.

Minniti was among the great many New Jersey cannabis license applicants and entrepreneurs unhappy with the old medical license round.

Camden Apothecary applied in Camden last December and was approved in August by the city.

Minniti said Camden voted for the 2020 New Jersey adult use cannabis legalization referendum by 80 percent.

“Nobody understood municipalities have to do something,” he noted about the process that began in 2021.

Camden was among those who banned it when there were no state cannabis regulations to examine. Minniti praised the Camden City Council and its cannabis licensing process once it opened.

“I have nothing but praise for the City of Camden and their process for this,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything more above board and transparent. There were no shortcuts offered.”

Minniti joked he was a recovering politician as a Republican.

“I have seen the sausage being made, so I get it,” he noted.

Aso “I know where all the political dog whistles are. I never experienced that in Camden.”

Minniti was a Burlington County Republican Mayor, which is very different than being an insider with the Camden County Democratic Organization which dominates the city. 

“They didn’t treat me differently. If they were playing that kind of game, I would have seen it,” he said.

Believing in Medical Cannabis

Minniti is eager to emphasize the medical side of cannabis even at his recreational adult use cannabis dispensary or New Jersey Weed Store Camden Apothecary.

“Here we are bringing cannabis back to the same building,” he said. “We believe more in the medical side.”

Minniti wanted Bell Pharmacy to dispense cannabis. But that’s not legal.

“If we’re going to have medical cannabis, pharmacies should be the main dispensing point,” he argued.

That has been a serious and difficult issue.

Minniti is passionate about bringing together pharmacies and cannabis at Bell Pharmacy and Camden Apothecary.

“We can accept the (medical cannabis patient) card. We can discount to patients the tax,” he explained. “It allows us to work with patients to screen with drug interactions.”

He added said some people would go to Bell Pharmacy who would never go to a dispensary. Minniti noted seniors are still largely against it. There is likely a social stigma of consuming among their social circles. 

Minniti said a pharmacy/dispensary is rare across the country. The two industries are very different and difficult to merge. He is eager to spread his Camden Apothecary model of a pharmacy/dispensary.

1634 Funk Opens Minority-Owned Micro Business Cannabis Dispensary

The 1634 Funk dispensary, formerly Strictly CBD, opened as a micro business dispensary in Jersey City. 

New Jersey Weed Store Camden Apothecary cannabis dispensary 1634 Frunk

It held a soft opening to work out minor issues versus a grand opening with a ribbon cutting and local officials.

1634 Funk co-owner Jeffrey Devine explained it was designed with a 1920s retro feel to give it the feel of a forbidden place. 

“I just wanted the sexiness of the speakeasy feel,” he noted.

The design is supposed to invoke the Great Gatsby Art Deco era.

It’s an intimate New Jersey weed store. 

“We didn’t need to be big. We want to continue to serve the clients we already have. We’re all about education. This setting allows us to do that. We are small. We’re not trying to compete with the big guys because we can’t. We have to create our own experience,” Devine explained. “We don’t have big money behind us.”

5th Jersey City Cannabis Dispensary Opens

Devine is the co-owner along with Venus Smith, an African American woman. He noted he is more the salesman type while Smith prefers to handle the back end of the business.

Strictly CBD/1634 Funk was approved by the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) and the Jersey City Cannabis Control Board initially last year.

“We were what the State was looking for,” Devine declared.

All the employees are Jersey City residents except one from Union City. Most are also minorities.

Devine wants to carry living soil or nutrient-rich soil-grown cannabis products which are more environmentally friendly. He explained that makes them pest-resistant and a higher THC which is what gets people high. Devine knows independent cannabis cultivators are in the process of creating such quality cannabis.

He is eager to sell cannabis products grown by New Jersey Black and Hispanic-owned cultivation operations which will be available in 2024.

Devine is excited to get new cannabis cultivator products in as soon as possible.

“The better stuff will be coming. But this is what he ave for now,” he noted.

New Jersey Cannabis Dispensary Name Change

Strictly CBD was renamed 1634 Funk. Devine explained that licensed New Jersey cannabis dispensaries can only sell state-approved products and New Jersey has not approved very many of those. All the legal hemp-derived products found in head shops and convenience stores were produced elsewhere.

Thus they do not sell any CBD. 

Devine said they love funk music like the We Got The Funk” song. Then they were 1,634th NJ-CRC applications submitted. Hence the name 1634 Funk.

The NJ-CRC approved the name change in September.

They secured the annual adult use New Jersey cannabis dispensary license necessary to open in June.

Longtime Business Owner

Devine has been building the business for some time as Strictly CBD before it became 1634 Funk dispensary. It allowed him to convert to a New Jersey adult use cannabis dispensary with the location. So it was allowed or grandfathered into the location.

He worked hard to ingratiate himself into the Bergen-Lafayette community by helping clean up the neighborhood and establish friendly relationships with other businesses. It’s in an Impact Zone that has been changing.

Like other successful New Jersey cannabis entrepreneurs Devine is a successful serial entrepreneur who has run restaurants before getting into CBD and cannabis. Devine was on the Food Network. 

He self-identifies as a gay Asian. He was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States as a child. JD has lived in Jersey City since 2005. 

They had a live flower vape cartridge called Space Queen that JD joked described him.

Devine explained he has been using CBD and cannabis to treat medical conditions himself.

In some places where multiple dispensaries are located, the competition will be fierce. The fight to be the best New Brunswick dispensary will likely include some in neighboring Franklin Township as well.

(Full disclosure 1634 made an ad deal with Heady NJ.)

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