NJBAC welcomes 1st group of instructors for Cannabis Training Academy

The New Jersey Business Action Center, which operates within the Department of State, recently announced its first group of Cannabis Training Academy instructors to assist in building out New Jersey’s cannabis technical assistance program.

Set to launch this year, the CTA will provide individuals, particularly those from underserved communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and those that reside in designated Impact Zones, with the proper information and education to pursue an adult-use cannabis operator’s license.

The program also will help individuals determine whether the cannabis industry is the right fit for their business aspirations. Enrolled students will have access to reliable information from trusted sources that either work or teach in or consult to the New Jersey cannabis industry.

“We look forward to launching the Cannabis Training Academy in 2024. This program will build upon the work happening throughout state government to create a more equitable, inclusive and diverse cannabis industry,” Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way, who is also secretary of state, said.

“Our goal is to provide key support to Jersey-owned, Jersey-local entrepreneurs who are interested in pursuing a recreational cannabis license through this virtual technical assistance program,” NJBAC Executive Director Melanie Willoughby said. “We are proud to provide resources and support to budding cannabis entrepreneurs and current local operators who are striving to make a positive impact in their communities.”

From June to November 2023, the Cannabis Training Academy team conducted their CTA instructor hiring journey. Following initial outreach and promotion of the CTA Instructor role, the team screened résumés and applications, organized and conducted in-depth interviews, and then selected their first cohort of instructors for the program.

Initial outreach enabled 250 people to express interest in applying for the CTA Instructor role. More than 200 people began or completed their instructor application and uploaded their résumé for interview consideration More than 150 people’s applications were deemed fully complete to move into interview consideration, and, of those 150 people, 64 people were selected for final interviews. Over eight weeks between October and November, the CTA team interviewed 64 prospective CTA Instructors. From those interviews, 25 people were selected as final instructors.

The selected 25 CTA Instructors, and their designated courses, are:

  • Rosemarie Moyeno Matos: Gaining Municipal Proof of Local Support;
  • Chuck Latini: Understanding Zoning Approvals and Site Plans;
  • Stephanie Thomas: Real Estate Considerations;
  • Cecilia Oyediran: Understanding the Application Scoring Criteria and Application Fees, Writing Your Personal History & Entity Disclosure Forms and Submitting a Successful Application;
  • Chirali Patel: Understanding and Drafting Business Plan and Management Profiles, Writing a Regulatory Compliance Plan, Preparing Your Conditional Application Submission, and Understanding the Conditional Conversion Application Process;
  • Lauren Rudick: Crafting and Understanding Business Formation Documents, Understanding Management Service Agreements and Financial Source Agreements, and Understanding Vendor Contractor Agreements;
  • Jessica Velazquez: Understanding Cannabis Taxation;
  • Dharshini Casinathen: Describing Your Business, Drafting Mission Statement & Value Propositions, Organizing a Qualified Team, Describing Your Products and Services, Writing an Executive Summary;
  • Devan McLaren: Creating a Financial Forecasting Plan;
  • James E. Jackson III: Preparing to Obtain Liability Insurance;
  • Patricia Walker: Understanding Your Business and Financial Plan, Preparing an Operating Plan, Describing Your Business Experience;
  • Hugh Giordano: Understanding Labor Peace Agreements;
  • Daniel Pierre: Understanding Collective Bargaining Agreements;
  • Tahir Johnson: Creating a Workforce Development and Job Creation Plan and Creating a Community Impact, Social Responsibility and Research Statement;
  • Marie Montmarquet: Creating a Safety and Security Plan and Drafting Standard Operating Procedures for Delivery;
  • Tim Weigand: Creating Your Environmental Impact Plan;
  • Monica Werkheiser: Understanding the Fundamentals of Standard Operating Procedures, and Drafting SOPs for Adverse Event Reporting, Quality Assurance/Control and Recall;
  • Kindalyn Thompson: Drafting SOPs for Packaging and Labeling, Inventory Control, Storage, Diversion Prevention, Recordkeeping and Waste Disposal/Sanitation;
  • Jason Gully: Drafting SOPs for Cultivation;
  • Kevin Serwatowski: Drafting SOPs for Manufacturing;
  • Charles Smith: Drafting SOPs for Wholesale;
  • Sequoah Turner: Drafting SOPs for Distribution;
  • Suzan Nickelson: Drafting SOPs for Dispensing;
  • Renata Serban: Drafting SOPs for Accounting & Tax Compliance;
  • Anita Bear: Drafting SOPs for Age Verification, Secure Transport of Cannabis and Reporting of Test Results for Cannabis.

Announced in late 2022, the no-cost CTA will provide online courses to New Jersey residents ages 21 and above interested in obtaining an adult-use cannabis license. General students will be able to access the first three levels of online instruction to understand how to establish a compliant New Jersey business, the laws and regulations that shape New Jersey’s cannabis market, and an overview of the cannabis license application portal.