Assembly panel advances bill by easing restrictions on dispensary ownership

The Assembly Health Committee introduced a bill easing restrictions on the ownership of medical marijuana dispensaries in a 10-2 vote on Wednesday.

Existing law allows individuals and businesses to hold only one marijuana grow, manufacture or dispensary license.

The bipartisan bill, sponsored by MP Verlina Reynolds Jackson (D-Trenton) and MP Brian Bergen (R-Denville), would allow investors to own up to 35% stake in seven medical marijuana companies as long as ‘they belong to minorities, women or disabled veterans.

“Lack of access to capital is one of the biggest obstacles women, veteran minority entrepreneurs and the disabled face when trying to become business owners,” said Reynolds Jackson and the assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Roselle), another sponsor. “Lower salaries mean that these people generally have less personal savings or opportunities to borrow external funds. In fact, the vast majority of investor-backed startups are overwhelmingly white and male-owned. “

The investor must also provide significant technical or financial assistance during the license application process.

Licensees would have to repay any financial assistance received from an investor, but they would continue to retain their property in the event of default on loans.

“Only people with a lot of money could open one of these clinics. It’s just not possible unless you have a lot of money in the bank, ”Bergen said. “Starting a business is almost impossible these days. This bill allows entrepreneurs to enter this new industry and gives them a chance.

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