N.J. to offer free technical assistance program for cannabis entrepreneurs

Cannabis Training Academy, to be run by the Business Action Center, will launch in 2023

The Cannabis Training Academy, a 10-week free program aimed at helping potential cannabis entrepreneurs learn if the cannabis business is right for them, is in the works, according to the New Jersey Business Action Center.

The program does not have a start date, but the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission has made a recommendation to the Department of the Treasury to fund it. The CRC’s audit committee recommended that funds from the Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Fund be used for the project.

The proposed curriculum for the program, which will be run by the Business Action Center, will include business plan development as well as a legacy to legal course.

Some program resources will be targeted to “Specially Designated Categories,” which include social equity businesses, diversely owned businesses, microbusinesses and Impact Zone businesses.

The program will have a 10-week accelerator track to take conditional license applicants through the initial application process, and a separate track to them convert to annual licenses.

CRC Vice Chair Sam Delgado said the program checks off a lot of boxes.

“We have emphasized equity and accessibility in the application process, and this program will help ensure aspiring entrepreneurs have the optimal business know-how to give them the best chance for success in the cannabis space,” he said. “The Cannabis Training Academy will begin the needed training and guidance that will help individuals and assist the budding market’s stability and success.”

The BAC falls under the duties of the office of Secretary of State Tahesha Way. She fully endorsed the program.

“Supporting these new entrepreneurs to be successful is critical to ensure equitable representation of small and diverse cannabis businesses and owners,” Way said. “This assistance is essential to help people and communities that were targeted during cannabis prohibition to achieve greater equality, access and participation and improve their lives, families and communities.”

BAC Executive Director Melanie Willoughby said the program fits with the mission of the organization.

“Classes in the academy will be taught by faculty who are in or have taught or consulted to the cannabis industry,” she said. “For 40 years, NJBAC has provided real-time assistance and support to businesses to help them navigate state government and connect with helpful resources. We look forward to building on our small business advocacy work to support this emerging marketplace.”