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New Jersey Cannabis License Social Equity Webinar Held by Baked by the River Dispensary

The Baked by the River dispensary recently held a New Jersey cannabis license social equity webinar with the firm New Frontier Data.

Baked by the River CEO Jesse Marie Villers noted she has been free of opioids for ten years. Villars credited cannabis as assisting with her recovery.

She is a Social Equity license candidate. Villars noted the issues she has gone through in underground legacy issues. Her dispensary, Baked by the River, should soon open in Lambertville in Hunterdon County.

Consultant Dr. Amanda Reiman of New Frontier Data explained she was born in Summit in Union County but moved out of state two years later. But she had family in Fair Lawn in Bergen County and often visited. Reiman has worked on Social Equity issues for different Californian cities.

“When folks are looking at New York and New Jersey, New Jersey cannabis is a better option for those looking to get their cannabis,” she declared.

Reiman urged the crowd to show up to city council meetings.

“It’s really important you do so. The cannabis haters show up every single time,” she noted.

Reiman described the nature of partnership for those who qualify for prioritized New Jersey cannabis licenses, like those who are Social Equity candidates.

If don’t one did not qualify as a prioritized category, one could partner.

“Not everyone is nefarious,” she said. “What are they bringing to the table? Ask for proof. Have confidence in yourself.”

Beware of Snakes in the Garden

But the devil is in the details.

“Get a good lawyer,” Reiman advised people.

An “investor says, “I’m going to make you successful. I have everything you need if I have half your business. A lot of time, this is bullshit. It’s because even the most well-connected and the most well-funded people are struggling,” she argued.

“There are investors who will invest in a company because they know they won’t meet expectations and will be able to take control,” Reiman declared.

In some deals, the investor can take control of the company if the main owner-operator does not make ten times their initial investment in 5 years.

“You want a lawyer to vet all these opportunities,” she explained.

A values match is also necessary with a partner.

“People can talk a good game. But get to know these investors,” Reiman advised.

She noted values and a mission drive many small businesses.

Reiman cited the Harborside Health Center, one of California’s first dispensaries. Noted serial entrepreneur and advocate Steve DeAngelo founded it. She said it used to have many community programs and discounts.

“They needed investment. Steve told this story recently. He brought in investors, and it was not a values match. Everything… was taken away,” Reiman declared.

Services and programs were cut, and it became a capital-driven business.

“It’s really sad,” she said.

“Do not put them above you in the organizational chart. Do not give them power over you in your business,” Reiman said of potential partners. “See what their track record is like as well. Talk to businesses they partnered with before. How well do they know the cannabis market?”

Social Equity Issues

Every state cannabis market has issues with prioritizing Social Equity. Reiman said California is limited in what it can do since it eliminated its Affirmative Action policy 15 years ago.

Reiman explained in New Jersey there are limited grants available currently in the pilot program or trial phase to address access to capital for New Jersey cannabis license aplicants. Phase II of the NJ Economic Development Authority’s (NJ-EDA) program with the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission will open to more people later this year.

Unfortunately, several obstacles make it hard to open in the New Jersey cannabis industry.

Landlords and businesses can charge a ton of money. They view them as high-risk businesses,” Reiman noted.

She explained the need to pay a high rent for an unknown number of months is overly burdensome for many.

New Jersey Cannabis Market Size Data

Reiman argued that in New Jersey, there are 1.8 million cannabis consumers, or 18.57 percent of adults consuming. There are less than 102,000 New Jersey medical cannabis patients.

“You see the number of med cannabis patients decrease,” she noted.

Reiman noted access is easier, and newer consumers are not interested in the benefits of exclusivity or certain products. Adult use cannabis budtenders can usually match a cannabis consumer with the product that will produce the desired effect.

The same trend has occurred throughout the state-legal cannabis markets.

She believed the illicit or underground cannabis market is making about $2 billion in sales in Jersey. The legal market is making about $1 billion in sales.

“The illicit market is still double the size in New Jersey, and that’s not unusual,” Reiman noted.

The California underground legacy cannabis market is four times the size of the state’s legal operations, she explained.

Reiman said the New Jersey cannabis adult use cannabis market will peak in 2026 and could outgrow the underground market. Some states will take even longer.

Cannabis Consumption Habits

Smokable products like flower are the most popular products in the state-legal cannabis markets, Reiman said.

“Edibles are starting to catch up to smokables,” she explained. “As people who weren’t consumers… they’re very, very much drawn to edibles. It’s easier to hide.”

Reiman noted mothers at children and social events don’t want the stigma of the smell of cannabis versus the discretion of popping a gummy.

Vape products are the 3rd most popular cannabis product to consume. People who want the quick effect will like smoke and inhalable for pain and impatience.

“Part of that is not having places you can smoke cannabis,” she noted.

Tinctures and topicals are popular among medical cannabis patients. Over 60 percent spend between $20 and $100 on their purchases. Most people are buying flower in packages of eighths. Only five percent spend more than $100.

“You’re really looking at what are price points in my store. You want to keep the prices between $20 and $100,” Reiman said.

“25 percent use once to a few times a year,” she said. “This is a group that’s really ripe for education.”

(That’s why HeadyNJ.com is a great resource!)

Many get cannabis from friends and family. Reiman said some of them might be buying it from legal sources. Enthusiasts and connoisseurs will go after new products, while “lifestylers” and medical cannabis patients are the anchor customers.

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