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RIPT Opens 1st Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Jersey City, NJ’s 43rd

RIPT Dispensary opened the first licensed medical cannabis dispensary in Jersey City and the 43rd in New Jersey.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (D) cut the ribbon at their Grand Opening. He has been very supportive of cannabis legalization for a while. 

“We were one of the state leaders advocating for legalization. We were the first to push for decriminalization. I’m excited we’re finally seeing the state move forward with licenses so the local governments can open,” Fulop declared. 

“Ript has been committed to the neighborhood for some time. I think they’re going to do really well here,” he added.

Regarding running for Governor in 2025, Fulop said they would begin releasing state policy positions in August, and New Jersey cannabis policy would be included.

RIPT Dispensary Grand Opening

“It’s been an amazing journey after five years,” Ript co-founder Jonathan Bednarsh said. “We’re proud to open Jersey City’s first independently owned and operated medical dispensary. Our investment and emphasis in employee training, community hiring, and accessibility show our intent to be a contributing member of the evolving Jersey City community.”

Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey thought it was great they were opening. She noted that in light of redistricting last year, it was no longer part of her ward. Nonetheless, she had been supportive and wanted to attend.

After the ribbon cutting, Bednarsh and co-founder Adam Hershey showed Fulop, Prinz-Arey, and Assemblywoman McKnight (D-Hudson) around their Jersey City cannabis dispensary. They were shown the backroom where orders were fulfilled.

Ript Dispensary Jersey City cannabis

Ript had a soft opening earlier this week. “Ripped” is slang for getting high.

Bednarsh said they worked with Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker’s nonprofit Team Walker to help city youth. In addition, they have been working with the non-profit Angela Cares, which helps seniors and those faced with food insecurity. McKnight, who is running to succeed State Senator Sandra Cunningham, is the CEO.

In addition, RIPT is working with Hudson County Community College (HCCC) to get students in their cannabis studies program internships to learn how to get into the industry.

Jersey City Cannabis Dispensary Open

Inside the store, is a unique graffiti art wall mural spray painted by New Jersey native graffiti artist Kemos. The feel with the graffiti art and rap music playing is unlike many other dispensaries, which have a cold Apple Store feel.

“We don’t want to walk into these aseptic-like stores,” co-founder Adam Hershey said.

Ript Dispensary Jersey City cannabis

RIPT Dispensary is at 220 Broadway. It is the site of the notable “Carpet Guy” statue, made famous in The Sopranos opening credits. They now occupy the Wilison’s carpet store it used to advertise. They insisted they do not plan to tear it down.

Jumping NJ Medical Cannabis License Hurdles

“We were both looking at cannabis, not just because it’s an exciting industry but because there’s a social component of giving back to the community, which appealed to us,” Bednarsh explained about getting into cannabis. 

He noted that while looking around New Jersey, they had real estate problems finding a location until they came to Jersey City. Even in Jersey City, they had difficulty finding an ideal location.

“Any business is hard to run. As an entrepreneur, you face all kinds of challenges. Cannabis is way harder than that. There’s multiple tiers of regulatory tier and compliance and finance issues normal businesses don’t face,” Bednarsh said.

He said the balance between craziness and persistence can be delicate at times.

“It’s a very difficult business to get into,” Bednarsh said. “There’s not really any margin for error.”

They have already submitted paperwork to convert to adult-use cannabis sales. Some of the 2019-2021 license winners that have opened already converted to adult-use cannabis sales.

Operating under the mantra “From NJ, By NJ, For NJ,” Ript Dispensary hired from, is inspired by and serves the Jersey City community.

Jersey Boys Succeed

In December 2021, RIPT Dispensary won a medical cannabis dispensary license to operate in Jersey City from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) under the name “The Community Wellness Center of NJ.” They won in the 2019 RFA round that lasted 29 months due to a lawsuit and COVID and significantly delayed progress. The NJ-CRC approved the name change last year. They also changed their location.

Bednarsh is a serial entrepreneur who previously launched a social media marketing agency and worked in the tech industry.

Hershey is a serial investor who is also part of a Colorado-based cannabis corporation that is a Multi-State Operator (MSO) called Trees traded on the Canadian stock market.

New patients get 20 percent off.

While there are a limited number of New Jersey products, they’re happy to secure cannabis products from Brute’s Roots, which recently opened.

Hershey grew up in Lincroft, a neighborhood in Middletown on the Red Bank border in Monmouth County. Bednarsh grew up in Marlboro, also in Monmouth County. They both now live in Rumson, which is near Red Bank.

RIPT Dispensary’s patients and customers have access to more than 40 parking spots on-site.

New Jersey Medical Cannabis Dispensaries List

The following New Jersey medical cannabis dispensaries are now open:

  1. RIPT Dispensary in Jersey City.
  2. Eastern Green Dispensary in Voorhees Twp.
  3. Yuma Way (an MSO) in Garfield.
  4. Silver Leaf in Somerset in Franklin Township.
  5. Brute’s Roots in Egg Harbor Township.
  6. UR’BN Dispensary in Newark.
  7. Restore NJ (an MSO) in Glassboro.
  8. Design 710 in Atlantic City.
  9. NJ Leaf in Freehold Boro.
  10. Holistic Solutions in Atco in Waterford.
  11. Aunt Mary’s dispensary in Flemington
  12. Valley Wellness in Raritan Borough.
  13. Breakwater in Roselle.
  14. Breakwater in Cranbury.
  15. Harmony in Secaucus.
  16. Sweetspot (an MSO) in Voorhees.
  17. MPX NJ (owned by iAnthus, an MSO) in Atlantic City.
  18. MPX NJ (owned by iAnthus, an MSO) in Sicklerville in Gloucester
  19. Bloc (an MSO), formerly Justice Grown in Somerset Franklin Twp.
  20. Bloc (an MSO), in Ewing.
  21. Apothecarium (owned by TerrAscend, an MSO) in Lodi.
  22. Apothecarium (owned by TerrAscend, an MSO) in Maplewood.
  23. Apothecarium (owned by TerrAscend, an MSO.) in Phillipsburg.
  24. Ayr Wellness (an MSO, formerly Garden State Dispensary) in Woodbridge.
  25. Ayr Wellness (an MSO, formerly Garden State Dispensary) in Union Township.
  26. Ayr Wellness (an MSO, formerly Garden State Dispensary) in Eatontown.
  27. Rise (owned by Green Thumb Industries, an MSO) in Bloomfield.
  28. Rise (owned by Green Thumb Industries) in Paramus.
  29. Rise (owned by Green Thumb Industries) in Paterson.
  30. The Cannabist (owned by Columbia Care, an MSO) in Deptford.
  31. The Cannabist (owned by Columbia Care, an MSO) in Vineland.
  32. The Botanist (owned by Acreage Holdings, an MSO) in Williamstown.
  33. The Botanist (owned by Acreage Holdings) in Egg Harbor.
  34. The Botanist (owned by Acreage Holdings) in Atlantic City.
  35. Ascend Wellness (an MSO) in Fort Lee
  36. Ascend Wellness (an MSO) in Rochelle Park.
  37. Ascend Wellness (an MSO, formerly Greenleaf) in Montclair.
  38. Zen Leaf (owned by Verano, an MSO) in Lawrence Twp.
  39. Zen Leaf (owned by Verano) in Elizabeth.
  40. Zen Leaf (owned by Verano) in Neptune Twp.
  41. Curaleaf (an MSO) in Bordentown Twp.
  42. Curaleaf (an MSO) in Bellmawr.
  43. Curaleaf (an MSO) in Edgewater Park.

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