All politics are local, as the old saying goes. And now that cannabis has been legalized in the Garden State, municipalities are gearing up to embrace — or not embrace — a new industry that state voters overwhelmingly supported.
The conference, which includes serious business networking sessions, takes place roughly one week after the Cannabis Regulatory Commission holds a meeting in which leaders from municipalities will get to voice what they want to see in local regulations.
“The best thing you could do is reach out to the local elected official,” said Clinton Township Mayor Janice Kovach, who is president of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. “Go through the municipal building — you get to the mayor, you get to the council president. The important thing is making sure you’re reaching out and gauging where they’re at before you start doing a whole process.”
While legalization legislation has laid out some of the basic foundations for establishing the industry, a lot of what it will actually entail will be driven by the municipalities.
The dynamic also comes at a time when the state’s current cultivators are stretched thin with current medical cannabis demand.
Additional cultivation of cannabis has been pushed forward as well, an activity that will likely take the largest footprint in the more rural and suburban parts of New Jersey due to more land availability — but some of those municipalities may be hesitant to invite the industry into their local economies.
Under the current legislation, municipalities have until an August deadline to ban or set limits on the types of cannabis businesses they would like to allow.
Which municipalities decide to enact ordinances that restrict, ban or welcome cannabis businesses can have an effect on how the industry will grow as a whole.
Kovach will be among the featured speakers at the virtual June conference. Other confirmed speakers include:
- Dianna Houenou, chair of the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
- Edmund DeVeaux, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Assn. and is a lobbyist with Burton Trent Public Affairs.
- Arthur Hance, founder and president of Hance Construction, Inc. which provides material erected, turnkey construction management and general contracting services to the industrial, commercial and cannabis markets in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
- Alixon Collazos, a public affairs specialist working with the BGill Group, a full service public affairs, political consulting and digital media firm. She recently worked with GTI-NJ to open Rise Paramus. She is also executive board member at the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center.
- David Serrano, a decorated U.S. Navy veteran, a pioneer in the cannabis industry, and a fierce advocate for social and environmental justice. He is the founder and chief of Business Development at Harvest 360 and H360 Labs.
- Dwayne D. Warren, mayor of the City of Orange and chair of the Committee on Cannabis at the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association (NJUMA), where he is also vice president.
At least 60 minutes of focused networking sessions are built in each day. The virtual networking “floor” will consist of roundtables, hosted by sponsors and partners.
- Hance Construction was selected to build one of the first cannabis grow facilities in New Jersey, and has since worked on other medical cannabis projects, offering consulting and site-location services.
- Supreme Security Alarms, New Jersey leaders in the security space, providing custom designed, state-of-art systems to protect your business.
- Harvest 360 is a cannabis consulting company that specializes in application preparation and licensing management, working to reduce barriers of entry for communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.
- New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, a state agency offering financial incentives, programs, and services for New Jersey residents, business owners, and local governments to help them save energy, money, and the environment. Integrate energy efficient, new technology into your buildings and equipment upgrades, make your facilities more efficient and receive big dividends on efficiency investments.
- New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association represents the permitted operators in New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program. NJCTA was formed to protect affordable access to medicinal marijuana for New Jersey’s roughly 100,000 registered patients during and after the state’s transition to an adult-use market. NJCTA is our social equity partner for this event.
- The BGill Group, a government affairs, public relations and digital communications firm that has been front and center on the development of the Garden State’s effort to expand and improve the existent medical cannabis program while supporting a sensible, just and highly regulated adult use marijuana.
- Weedmaps, a leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry, is an online marketplace to discover and explore products and brands, and to find dispensaries and doctors.
- Stockton University, the interdisciplinary minor in Cannabis Studies offers students a foundation for understanding the burgeoning cannabis industry.
Roundtables will have focused discussions on what what you need to know to get in on New Jersey’s Green Rush, including working with towns, nuances in the application process, quality control, finding the right business partners, and more.
Click here for more details and to purchase tickets. (Note: Availability is limited. As others will tell you, we have had to turn people away from our last two large-scale events.)