Trade Association established to help develop the emerging cannabis market in New Jersey
TRENTON, N.J., Jan. 23, 2017 /Weed Wire/ — As the nation continues moving state-by-state towards legalizing medical and adult-use cannabis, more and more entrepreneurs and businesses are staking their claim in this rapidly growing industry.
To help guide these businesses through New Jersey’s legal and regulatory environment, a group of business leaders, civic leaders and patient-advocates recently formed a trade association to support the expanding legal cannabis industry.
“The excitement surrounding the legal cannabis industry and New Jersey’s role and opportunities is amazing,” stated Scott Rudder, President of the newly established New Jersey CannaBusiness Association.
Rudder, a businessman and former mayor and state legislator was elected to serve as President of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association at their first organizational meeting held on January 18th in Princeton, New Jersey. “We have a simple objective at the NJCBA, promote jobs and economic growth in a sustainable and responsible cannabis industry.”
The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association Executive Board includes the following individuals:
Scott Rudder, President
Scott is a former state legislator, mayor, veteran and current government affairs executive.
Dr. Marianne Bays, Ph.D.
Marianne is a Cannabis Industry Analyst at Kalyx Development Inc. and a Managing Director of Mingleridge Business Resources, LLC.
Rob is a former Iron Man and triathlete who has led local and state political campaigns. Now due to a debilitating disease, he is an outspoken champion of the benefits of medicinal cannabis while also espousing the dangers of opioids.
Hector is a retired Police Sergeant and former Deputy Police Director for the City of Newark. Hector was also elected to Newark City Council where he served as a Councilman and Deputy Mayor.
Jay is an established and respected cannabis activist and columnist.
Michael is a proven entrepreneur and real estate developer with significant investments in the cannabis industry in multiple states.
Dr. Andrew Medvedovsky, MD
Andrew is the director at New Jersey Alternative Medicine as well as a board-certified neurologist and pain medicine specialist with RA Pain Services in Turnersville, NJ.
Felice has extensive experience in health insurance regulations with a specific focus on Medicare and Medicaid. Felice also holds leadership positions in multiple non-profit organizations.
Chris is a successful entrepreneur who started several companies from scratch and turned them into thriving enterprises. Chris’ background also includes leadership roles in trade associations in regulated industries.
David is a physical therapist, cannabis consultant, and CEO of Pazoo, a publically traded cannabis testing lab company with operations in multiple states.
“The background and expertise of this board is second to none. In establishing the board, we wanted to make certain there was the right balance of business leaders, community leaders as well as patient advocates,” said Rudder.
Similar to other trade associations representing industries such as restaurants, banking and energy, the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association will be a voice for the legal cannabis industry to lawmakers and community officials.
As the law and opportunities continue to evolve over the next few years, the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association will work to highlight the benefits of a responsible and successful cannabis industry as well as to address concerns that people may have as New Jersey and the country move towards ending prohibition.
“The success of the industry in New Jersey will be contingent on establishing the right regulatory framework that will allow businesses to succeed in a responsible manner,” stated Marianne Bays, Ph.D. Dr. Bays is a cannabis industry business analyst and consultant who received her PhD in Business – Organization and Policy Studies from CUNY Graduate Center in NYC. “We have the benefit of adopting the lessons learned from other states who have both medical and adult-use laws on the books. We have the opportunity to get it right the first time.”
In addition to helping businesses navigate through New Jersey’s laws and regulations, The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association will help businesses with their specific needs through business to business networking as well as workshops and educational opportunities.
“As it stands today, there are thousands of businesses already operating in New Jersey that can expand their existing market to include the cannabis industry,” said Bays. “In addition to the existing Alternative Treatment Centers already up and running, people in LED lighting, horticulture, packaging, security, logistics and dozens of other industries will find new customers ready, willing and able to utilize their services.”
Education is also a critical part of New Jersey CannaBusiness Association’s public outreach. “After 80 years of prohibition, cannabis has been given a bad reputation based on outdated information and stereotypes which still cause concerns for some people today,” said Rudder. “Once you get a look at recent statistical data as well as research conducted by scientists and medical professionals, you learn that this plant, which has been part of our cultural and medical history for thousands of years, is just a plant.”
Rudder added, “To be clear, cannabis is not without certain risks. For example, people shouldn’t drive after consuming cannabis and kids shouldn’t have access to it unless under the supervision of their doctor. There are reasons it should be regulated, monitored and taxed. And what we’ve seen in other states is that the path towards legalization that incorporates a solid foundation of appropriate laws will resolve many of the issues that people are concerned about.”
One element that separates the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association from other trade groups is its grassroots membership category. “Helping to change the law, educate the public and grow an industry requires people. Lots and lots of people,” stated Rudder. “We created a category to engage those who are passionate about cannabis. For some, it’s the lifting of an over regulated medicinal cannabis program. For others, they want to see an end to civil injustices that occur as a result of a person arrested for minor possession. And then there are those who simply feel it’s not the place of government to get involved in their life choices. Whatever their motivator, we will have a forum for their voices to be heard and their messages delivered.”
Over the next few months, the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association plans on conducting informational seminars for businesses interested being involved in the growing cannabis industry as well as other events designed to help educate the public.