Rohan Marley, who is a longtime New Jersey resident and son of reggae legend Bob Marley is entering the New jersey medical marijuana market with Lightshade. If New Jersey approves the dispensary application, the Lightshade retail site will be only the second dispensary to open in Montclair and Lightshade’s first outside Colorado.
“Lightshade and our team led by Rohan Marley have assembled a fantastic proposal that mirrors our focus on our customers and the communities that we serve,” said Mike Leach, COO, Lightshade. “From the moment we met Rohan, we knew he shared our same outlook concerning social equity in today’s cannabis space and doing right by the people who use our products. And like those of us at Lightshade, he values a commitment to the community where he works and wants to give back in any way he can.”
Marley led the application process with a team that included Dr. Anthony Caggiano, OBGYN surgeon; John Zidziunas, professor and Montclair-based labor attorney; and Erik Caggiano, Colorado cannabis manufacturing manager. Marley has also expressed a commitment to hiring locally, especially those community members who have been victimized by the racist policies of America’s misguided War on Drugs.
For Lightshade, the company said that the opportunity to advance into a new market on the Eastern Seaboard made sense for multiple reasons. In a statement, the company said, “Currently, Montclair is served by just one other medical cannabis dispensary, and the Essex County township is just minutes away from New York City, an important factor once New Jersey’s adult-use legalization market is put into place. Marley’s involvement in the dispensary application process in Montclair has already attracted support from civic and business leaders in the area.” Lightshade operates nine dispensaries in the Denver metro area and is one of the largest privately-held cannabis dispensary companies in Colorado.
“Rohan envisions this Lightshade dispensary as an incubator for the next generation of New Jersey’s cannabis entrepreneurs,” Leach said. “That commitment to opportunity and equality echoes the same mindset Lightshade has for its Colorado employees.”
The company said that the application is expected to be approved soon. For now, it awaits state approval because of a lawsuit that has delayed the New Jersey Department of Health’s review of 2019 license applications. That lawsuit centers on a technical issue that affected multiple applicants in the Garden State, which is expected to be overcome soon, especially given new pressures put into place by New Jersey’s 2020 ballot approval of recreational cannabis.