Singleton Legislation To Make Dispensary Ownership More Accessible To Minority, Women And Disabled Veterans

Trenton - In an effort to make minority ownership of medical cannabis dispensaries more accessible, the Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by 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). “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.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 9-2.