Funding Available for New Cannabis Entrepreneurs from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

January 11, 2023

By Gaye Eschenbach

Starting any business comes with a price-tag and a cannabis business is no exception. Lack of financial resources stops many potential businesses from getting off the ground. Now, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) is coming to their rescue. On December 21st, the NJEDA announced the creation of the Cannabis Equity Grant Program. This new program specifically targets cannabis start-ups and will provide grants to approved applicants that will be used for start-up expenditures and technical training.

One of the hallmarks of the cannabis licensing structure in New Jersey is the goal of improving social equity. License applications for social equity businesses, diversely-owned businesses, or businesses located in impact zones are given priority. The Cannabis Equity Grant Program keeps that objective in mind. Of the initial pilot program funding of $10 million earmarked for this program, 60% of that amount will be made available exclusively to qualifying social equity applicants. Diversely-owned businesses are minority-owned, women-owned, or disabled veteran-owned and certified as such by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury. Impact zone businesses are either located in a specific area, owned by people from an impact zone, or employ residents of an impact zone. The $1,000 application fee may be waived for those applicants from economically disadvantaged areas.

How to Qualify for the NJEDA Cannabis Equity Grant Program

Qualifying businesses must hold at least a conditional cannabis license, have been formed after March 2020, and cannot have more than 50 employees. Approved businesses can receive up to $250,000, which can be used to defray the cost of regulatory fees, rental costs, utilities, and wages.

About Gaye C. Eschenbach

Gaye Eschenbach is a Senior Manager in the Private Client Services Group assisting many industries including manufacturing, wholesale distribution and real estate with tax planning and review, financial statement compilation and review services.