In an unprecedented move, the State of New Jersey – through unanimous approval by the Economic Developmental Authority – has agreed to give out a $357,000 loan to the founders of the Compassionate Care Foundation Inc., a medical marijuana dispensary which plans to open in October; the dispensary would be the second to open in the state.
“You don’t get much more mainstream than the Economic Development Authority,” says David Knowlton, President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, a research and consumer advocacy group, “They are saying this is a mainstream public health issue.”
According to the terms of the agreement, the dispensary must repay the money before January of 2017, with an interest rate of 4.65%. The repayment date coincides with President Obama stepping down from office, in case the new president attempts to prosecute the state for funding a federally illegal business; the state reached out to the Obama Administration to assure that they wouldn’t take that approach.
According to Bill Thomas, CEO of the Compassionate Care Foundation, the group plans to use the money to purchase equipment, additional cultivation space, and will add 12 new jobs (they currently employ 7). The group plans to generate around $2.8 million in taxes within 10 years.
Although New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie yesterday signed a proposal to improve the state’s medical cannabis law, it still remains one of the strictest in the nation, with only one dispensary currently operating.