New Jersey Archives - Page 2 of 4 - Green Market Report

Adam JacksonJuly 28, 2022
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Actor and musician Ice T is opening a recreational dispensary with Charis Burrett, founder of The Medicine Woman, in Jersey City, New Jersey after the city board granted approval for the shop.

The approval came from the Jersey City Cannabis Control Board, which establishes and enforces the rules and regulations governing the licensing, cultivation, testing and selling of the plant. The shop will be named The Medicine Woman Jersey City and will include 5,000 square feet of retail space.

“I’ve dedicated my life and career to giving back and paving the way for minorities,” Ice T, whose real name is Tracey Lauren Marrow, said in a statement. “As a New Jersey native, I’m excited for the opportunity legalization offers our community, and I look forward to ushering in a new era for Cannabis in the state.”

Marrow was born in Newark New Jersey and as a child moved to the tonier town of Summit. He lost both of his parents as a child and went to live with an aunt in California. He has come full circle with cannabis. As a teen he initially did not consume any drugs or alcohol but did end up selling cannabis to support a then-pregnant girlfriend, before eventually joining the army. Following his army stint, he became a bank robber but left his life of crime to focus on breaking into the entertainment industry.

Black people in New Jersey are three times more likely to be charged with pot possession than white counterparts, and The Medicine Woman Jersey City said it is committed to sourcing staff from the local community – partnering with several local organizations include The Last Prisoner Project, Jersey City Mural and Arts Program, Jersey City Employment and Training Program, Hudson County Community College, with more to be announced.

Founded in 2015 by Burrett, and her husband, Luke Burrett, The Medicine Woman started out as a California non-profit delivery service.

“Giving back to our community has and will always be a priority to us,” said Burrett. “We are passionately devoted to providing access to safe, affordable and quality plant medicinal remedies.”

The Medicine Woman Jersey City is slated to open around Fall this year and is currently accepting applications for employment for a variety of positions. To apply, send a resume to HR@themedwoman.com. The shop is committed to sourcing a local workforce with a focus on providing opportunities for former cannabis offenders, the release said.

 

 


Debra BorchardtJuly 28, 2022
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Get ready for some cannabis companies to report boosted earnings as revenues got juiced from New Jersey adult-use sales. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic thinks that the addition of this market could drive growth in second-quarter sales for several companies in a report he issued on Thursday. While there hasn’t been any official data from New Jersey on the number of sales, which began April 21, Zuanic thinks it could be as high as $60 million in the second quarter. 

The first month was reported to be $24 million and since that time the store count has grown from 12 to 17. The SKUs at the stores have jumped from  283 to 1,322 as more products get added. Looking at the landscape the companies poised to benefit the most are TerrAscend (OTC: TRSSF) with three dispensaries in NJ selling recreational cannabis as does Ayr Wellness (OTC: AYRWF). Next with two stores under their belts are Verano (OTC: VRNOF), Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRHF), Columbia Care (OTC: CCHWF), Curaleaf (CURLF), and  Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF). Ascend Wellness (OTC: AAWH) taps in at one store, but its Montclair dispensary was been approved to start rec sales, however, Montclair won’t allow recreational sales. 

Apothocarium stores are owned by TerrAscend

Brick & Mortar Wins

In order to make his sales estimates, the analyst calculated the number of days during the second quarter that these companies could open their stores for business. Then he looked at the hours the stores were open and the market share that the operators had. He reviewed the online menus to determine SKU counts for the stores and further drilled down to in-store brands.

“If we define market share based on opening hours (prorated for when stores began rec sales), in 2Q22 Green Thumb and Verano would have had 19% share, TerrAscend 18%, Acreage 15%, Curaleaf 11% (its second rec store opened 5/24), Ascend Wellness 8%, Columbia Care 6% (extended rec opening hours from early June), and AYR 5% (its stores opened for rec on 6/14),” wrote the analyst. “If we define it based on SKU count, Green Thumb would have had 24%, Verano 23%, Ascend 17%, TerrAscend 11%, Curaleaf 9%, Columbia Care 3%, and AYR 2%.”

However, the geography and cannabis market in the state splits into three zones – North, Central, and South.  He wrote in his report, “There are more stores in the northeastern part of NJ while the Curaleaf store in Bellmawr initially had minimal competition and benefited from incoming Philly traffic. We should also factor in location (next to a high-traffic road/ highway) and parking availability. Although this report is not a 2Q preview, we would estimate that Green Thumb and Verano had ~18% share in 2Q; Curaleaf, Acreage, and Ascend 15%; TerrAscend (parking is an issue) 10%; and Columbia Care and AYR the rest (9% combined).”

The analyst then got out his calculator and wrote, “On the base of 1Q22 reported sales (all else equal; again, we are not forecasting total 2Q sales here), this would mean +4.4% for Green Thumb (18% x $60Mn, on a 1Q22 sales base of $242.6Mn); Verano +5.3% ($10.8Mn/$202.2Mn); Acreage +15.8% ($9Mn/$56.9Mn); Curaleaf +2.9% ($9Mn/$313.4Mn); Ascend +10.6% ($9Mn/ $85.1Mn); TerrAscend +12.1% ($6Mn on $49.7Mn); AYR +2.4% ($2.7Mn/$111.2Mn), Columbia Care +2.2% ($2.7Mn/$123.1Mn).”

Brand Power

The analyst went a little further and found that the top five brands in the adult use market accounted for 80% of the total SKUs available. Verano was the winner here with 376 SKUs or 28% of the market share. It was followed by Curaleaf with 321 SKUs and a 24% share, then TerrAscend’s Kind Tree brand came in at 215 SKUs and 16% share. Green Thumb’s Rhythm brand had 6%, and Ascend Wellness’s Ozone brand had 5%.

Vapes had the most SKU’s with Verano leading the pack, while flower came in second  and Curaleaf led that category. Curaleaf led the day for pre-rolls, while Verano mopped up with the edible category. 

In Closing

Most cannabis companies have been complaining about how challenging the cannabis industry has become. Mature markets are flattening out in sales and costs are going up, while prices come down. Consumers are being hit with inflation pressures and there are recession worries on the horizon. The addition of a new market and one that is looking to be a strong one is great news for these companies. Welcome to the Garden State.


Debra BorchardtJune 7, 2022
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With just 12 dispensaries open in the state, New Jersey still managed to ring up $24 million in sales in the first month. That’s roughly $5 million a week. According to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, “On the first day of adult-use sales in New Jersey, 12 participating dispensaries sold cannabis and cannabis products to 12,438 recreational cannabis customers for a total gross sale of nearly $1.9 million.” BDSA expects New Jersey to be the third-largest contributor to overall US sales growth by 2026 and is forecast to generate annual revenue of $2.3 billion in total legal cannabis sales.

“We expected sales to be substantial and the data shows that the market is effectively serving both adult-use consumers and patients,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “We continue to monitor inventory and access for patients and are prepared to take enforcement action against any ATC that does not meet the requirements for patient access and supply.” The CRC has approved 102 conditional licenses to date.

Columbia Care

This is sparking the existing operators to keep ramping up as licenses expand. Columbia Care Inc. (NEO: CCHW) (CSE: CCHW) (OTCQX: CCHWF)  said it has started operations in its new, approximately 270,000-square-foot cultivation and production facility in New Jersey. Col-Care has also begun using post-harvest automation equipment and expanded its adult-use shopping hours at both of its Cannabist locations in Deptford and Vineland to the maximum number of hours allotted by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). The company said it received approval from the New Jersey CRC to do so on May 25, 2022, along with the approval to begin using post-harvest automation equipment. Col-Care said the introduction of this equipment will reduce the “harvest to shelf” time for products, making it easier to meet the rapidly-growing patient and customer demand.

“After ten years of navigating the ever-evolving cannabis industry in various markets, we have so many lessons learned and have been able to bring those to bear in how we approach New Jersey, knowing how it will serve as a model for those east coast states transitioning to adult use in the near term. We are proud of how we managed to scale alongside the demand in the last month and are thrilled to be able to serve more patients, customers, and wholesale partners with our newest cultivation facility and equipment,” said Nicholas Vita, CEO, of Columbia Care. “As always, we owe a debt of gratitude to the CRC as well as local officials and our communities for their support in our efforts to make New Jersey one of the strongest cannabis markets in the world and a beacon for the industry.”
In addition to the new 270,000-square-foot cultivation, manufacturing, and processing facility, Col-Care also operates a 50,000-square-foot facility, located in Vineland. The company has a third retail location in development in New Jersey, which is expected to open later in 2022.

Green Thumb Industries

Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF) CFO Anthony Georgiadis said on the company’s recent earnings conference call, “New Jersey adult sales kicked off on 4/21 and early results look yearly similar to Illinois circa, January 2020. We just completed a wholesale facility expansion in Paterson. We have a new facility that’s about to break ground. So, long-term, we’re confident in our prospects of being a big player within the wholesale side of the New Jersey market.” The company did acknowledge the lack of products on the adult-use side of the store versus the medical side, but that is due to the state regulators’ preference to remain focused on the medical patients. CEO Ben Kovlar said on the same call, “There’s a lot of demand for this product. If there wasn’t, there would not be people lined up around the corner at these stores in New Jersey. So that’s what gives us a lot of conviction. There ends up being a lot of upside.”

Curaleaf

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: CURLF) is another New Jersey company enjoying its expansion efforts. Curaleaf began new adult-use sales at its Edgewater Park on May 25. It’s the company’s second location to sell adult-use cannabis in the Garden State and the 13th adult-use store to be added in the state. “After a successful adult-use launch in April, we are thrilled to expand our adult-use footprint allowing us to serve even more New Jersey consumers,” said Matt Darin, CEO of Curaleaf. “I’d like to thank the Town of Edgewater Park for their partnership and for so graciously welcoming us into the community. Curaleaf is committed to ensuring patients and consumers receive quality products and service as they embark on their cannabis journey.”

Ayr Wellness

Last month, medical operator Ayr Wellness (OTC: AYRWF) got its green light to begin adult-use sales. “We are thrilled to be approved for adult-use sales in New Jersey and to have all three dispensaries cleared simultaneously to open for adult-use,” said Jonathan Sandelman, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ayr. “To date, Central Jersey has the lowest number of dispensaries per capita, leaving its population under-served compared with the rest of the state. New Jersey is expected to become a highly influential state for the U.S. cannabis industry, and we are honored to help shape the market landscape from its early stages.”  The company is working on opening its first adult-use store.

Video StaffApril 21, 2022

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Ascend Wellness (OTC: AAWH) was excited to open its store in Rochelle Park, New Jersey for legal adult-use cannabis sales. The company opted to start opening day with appointment-only visits. If a walk-in customer was able to book an appointment immediately, they could shop, otherwise, Ascend gave them a $5 coupon if they had to wait for an appointment. The company wanted a controlled open versus lines of customers. Police were helping to direct traffic and the parking lot next to the store was active with cars coming and going.


StaffApril 19, 2022
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Australis Capital Inc. (CSE: AUSA) (OTC: AUSAF) also known as Audacious was awarded a provisional Cultivation license, as well as a provisional manufacturing license in the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey has become the latest state to attract the attention of cannabis companies in the country. Adult-use sales will begin this Thursday, April 21 jump-starting a process that has continually stalled since voters agreed to legalize it in 2020. With a population near 9 million people, it is estimated that the total New Jersey market could reach $2 billion. So far, the state has awarded 37 conditional cultivation licenses and 70 conditional manufacturing licenses, in addition to allowing 6 of the incumbent 12 medical use operators to participate. Audacious said that the limited number of licenses awarded and the limited availability of municipalities that have opted in will give them a significant early mover advantage.

AUDACIOUS‘ new team, just one year ago, committed to being laser-focused on the U.S. East coast and this successful license application is another example of how we continue to execute rapidly on this strategy,” said CEO Terry Booth. “With projects underway in New YorkMassachusetts and now New Jersey, our footprint is rapidly expanding in what we believe will be some of the most significant and profitable markets in the U.S. We have more up our sleeve in the states mentioned, and we look forward to informing the market as we continue on our rapid growth trajectory.”

The company said in a statement that it has up to 150 days to secure a location in one of the municipalities that opted in for adult use, enabling it to apply to convert the licenses from provisional to fully granted. Audacious said it has already identified a number of locations it intends to apply for permitting and is confident it will be able to meet all requirements. Under the regulations, the cultivation license allows for a facility with a maximum canopy area of 50,000 sq ft. The manufacturing license will enable the company to introduce its award-winning brands to the New Jersey market.

Achieve Facilities

Audacious said it plans to build one of its Achieve series of standardized facilities for the cultivation of premium products at low operating costs. “The 50,000 sqft maximum canopy size will permit a building with a total surface area of 100,000 sqft, or an Achieve 24 facility, which will include the manufacturing facility for which the company has obtained a provisional license as well. The Achieve 24is an all-inclusive indoor facility using supplemental sunlight along with the industry’s most efficient cannabis-proven LED lighting. It features a mother room, clone room, veg room, and flower rooms capable of producing 24,000+ pounds of dry flower a year.”

“The Achieve 24 takes growing to another level while saving on energy costs. The facility is designed with efficiency in mind through a sophisticated nutrient delivery system combined with a high level of automation. The facility is scalable, able to reach an impressive 100,000 pounds of dry flower a year. This facility features an automated benching system for the highest possible efficiency in logistics, benefitting transplant and harvesting greatly. Multiple SKUs can easily be manufactured in ample space for dedicated manufacturing suites – all at GMP quality and safety while being inclusive of the most efficient people and materials movement possible.”


Debra BorchardtApril 15, 2022
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On Thursday, New Jersey state officials announced that legal adult-use sales will begin on April 21.

New Jersey’s Green Light

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission will be issuing licenses to seven alternative treatment centers (ATCs) to begin adult-use cannabis operations, including at 13 retail dispensaries, starting on  Thursday, April 21. Individuals 21 years and older will be able to purchase cannabis and cannabis products legally without a medical card.

“This is an exciting time for New Jersey,” said New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission executive director Jeff Brown. “New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly to have access to adult-use cannabis and it is now here. I am very proud of the work the Commission has done over the past year to open the market. We have been intentional and deliberate to do everything in our power to set the market on good footing to start.”

 

 

Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF), which uses the RISE banner said on Twitter that its dispensaries RISE Bloomfield and RISE Paterson will open next Thursday at 6 a.m.

Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) will be the sole cannabis company currently permitted to initiate personal use sales in New Jersey’s central region on April 21st at its Zen Leaf Elizabeth (117 Spring St) and Lawrence Township (3256 Brunswick Pike) dispensary locations.  CEO George Archos said, “April 21, 2022, is a day that will be forever celebrated by New Jerseyans, marking the historic moment when the Garden State’s vote to embrace progress over cannabis prohibition became reality. Thanks to the residents of New Jersey, and the courageous leadership of Governor Murphy, Senator Scutari, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and the countless township and county commissioners statewide, cannabis will realize its full potential to make a lasting, positive impact on the state’s economy and society. On behalf of Verano and Zen Leaf, we are excited and ready to welcome the first personal-use cannabis customers in the great state of New Jersey on April 21st.”

The company also operates Zen Leaf Neptune Township (2100 Route 66), a medical cannabis dispensary that will soon commence adult-use sales, along with a state-of-the-art, 120,000 square foot cultivation, and processing facility in Branchburg.

Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRHF) said it is aiming to kick off sales at The Botanist Williamstown and The Botanist Egg Harbor that day.

Acsend Wellness (OTC: AAWH) said it wants to begin sales at its Rochelle Park facility. “It is an honor to be part of the inaugural group of cannabis businesses building the foundation for New Jersey’s adult-use market,” said Abner Kurtin, founder and CEO of AWH. “This is a tremendous milestone in our company growth, and we look forward to expanding cannabis access to more residents across the state while continuing to provide our patients with top care.”

He went on to add, “AWH has served thousands of patients since entering New Jersey’s medical market in May 2021, and we are equipped to offer the same affordable and safe cannabis experiences to our growing community of adult-use consumers,” said Frank Perullo, president of AWH. “Our knowledgeable retail team at Ascend Rochelle Park is prepared to welcome consumers at every stage of their cannabis journeys and provide personalized guidance for all lifestyles and preferences.”


Debra BorchardtApril 13, 2022
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With the news that New Jersey was finally approving some cannabis companies to begin selling adult-use cannabis, investors began salivating over who would triumph. Cannabis stocks have been in a decidedly long bear market causing investors to lose great sums of money (on paper at least). As the process to begin these sales went through a series of starts and stops, the companies along with the investors were getting frustrated. It’s incredibly difficult for a retailer to make staffing and inventory decisions when you have no clue as to when you when need either. Investors wanted to know who would reap the benefits of those sales and when it could be reflected in earnings releases.

Potential Market

Headset.io has predicted that the first full year of sales in New Jersey could bring in $740 million in sales. The company went on to write that New Jersey, with its adult-use transition expected in March 2022, is projected to boast a 21+ population of 7 million that will produce $1.6 billion in sales by 2025.

A Rutgers report wrote, “We estimate that New Jersey would collect between $118.2 million and $173.5 million per year after recreational marijuana is legalized and when the market is fully saturated.”

Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRHF) said during its last earnings announcement that it increased cultivation capacity output nearly fourfold at the Egg Harbor facility in New Jersey to support the company’s own retail network and the rapidly growing wholesale market ahead of the launch of the adult-use sales. These are its approved locations and while the Atlantic City store wasn’t approved in the first round, it’s expected to happen eventually.

  • The Botanist by CCF, Egg Harbor Township
  • The Botanist by CCF, Williamstown (Monroe)

Curaleaf (CURLF) has three locations in New Jersey, but so far just two have been approved in the first round.

  • Curaleaf, Bellmawr
  • Curaleaf, Edgewater Park

TerrAscend (OTC: TRSSF has been also gearing up for the state to go legal. The company said that cash used in operations was $3.8 million for the three months ending in December 2021, mainly driven by an increase in inventory related to the anticipated start of adult-use sales in New Jersey. In the last earnings announcement, Executive Chairman Jason Wild, commented, “The strategic decisions we made in Pennsylvania have resulted in the highest quality product we have ever sold in this market. Additionally, the actions undertaken in New Jersey have our team prepared for adult use, where we have one of the largest cultivation footprints in the state, along with three ideal dispensary locations.”

  • The Apothecarium, Maplewood
  • The Apothecarium, Phillipsburg

Verano’s (VRNOF) New Jersey footprint consists of three cannabis dispensaries operated under the flagship Zen Leaf brand in Elizabeth (117 Spring St), Lawrence Township (3256 Brunswick Pike), and Neptune Township (2100 Route 66), along with a 120,000 square foot cultivation and processing facility in Branchburg. Darren Weiss, Verano Chief Operating Officer, and General Counsel said, “The approval of personal use cannabis marks a huge step forward for New Jersey, the cannabis industry, and the nation at large. On behalf of our Verano New Jersey team, we look forward to welcoming personal use visitors to our Zen Leaf dispensaries.”

  • Zen Leaf, Elizabeth
  • Zen Leaf, Lawrence

Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF) must be thrilled that one of its approved dispensaries is just a 30-minute drive from New York City. The company had two locations approved, while the Paramus store will continue serving medical-only patients.

  • RISE Dispensaries, Paterson
  • RISE Dispensaries, Bloomfield

Columbia Care’s (OTC: CCHWF) outlook for revenue in 2022 included sales that it hoped would come from New Jersey. The company forecast $625-$675 million in sales for the year and specifically called out New Jersey as contributing to that estimate. Col-Care also had two locations approved.

  • Columbia Care, Vineland
  • The Cannabist, Deptford (Columbia Care)

Ascend Wellness (OTC: AAWH) was also thrilled to get at least one location in the first group to begin sales. The company tweeted, “We are thrilled to announce that we are among the first cannabis companies permitted to sell adult-use cannabis in the State of New Jersey. We look forward to opening our doors to 21+ customers. Stay tuned.” The company currently operates two of the state’s 23 medical dispensaries and expects to sell adult-use cannabis products at its Montclair retail location at 395 Bloomfield Ave. and open a third dispensary, located in Fort Lee, later this year.

  • Ascend New Jersey, Rochelle Park

StaffApril 11, 2022
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The Daily Hit is a recap of the day’s top business news for the cannabis industry for April 11, 2022.

On the Site

New Jersey

Legal adult-use cannabis sales could begin within weeks as the state has approved seven licenses for companies already selling medical marijuana. The news came during a meeting held today by videoconference with the five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission. The commission licensed 13 individual dispensaries located throughout New Jersey, but the seven companies must pay upward of $1 million in fees associated with the expanded licenses. “The path to get there does not have to be any specific length of time,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “It doesn’t have to be 30 days. It can be less. It can be more.” Read more here.

Lume

Law360 reported that Michigan-based Lume Cannabis also known as Attitude Wellness LLC has lost its battle against the tiny town of Pinckney, Michigan. Lume was pretty annoyed that it didn’t win the sole cannabis license for this little town and sued the town to find out why. Lume already owns 26 stores in the state so the fight for this little town’s license was described by some in the state as a bullying move. Pinckney had originally opted out of the program and then changed its mind. Read more here.

Pelorus

Pelorus Equity Group completed the second and final tranche of its previously announced $77.3M non-dilutive real estate debt financing with Harborside Inc. (CSE: HBOR) (OTCQX: HBORF). The initial funding included three individual loans to Harborside, Urbn Leaf Holdings Inc., and Loudpack JV Corporation with a second tranche made available upon the final closing of the three-way merger.  The proceeds were used primarily to retire certain existing loans and provide additional working capital. Read more here

In Other News

Agrify

Agrify Corporation (Nasdaq:AGFY)has signed a definitive agreement for its Agrify Total Turn-Key Solution with Loud Wellness Inc. , a New Jersey-based cultivation and manufacturing operator. Loud Wellness is one of only eight awardees that received both the Class 1 Cultivator and Class 2 Manufacturer licenses in New Jersey. Agrify also forecasts approximately $118 Million in revenue over the next 10 years.

Aleafia

Aleafia Health Inc. (OTCQX: ALEAF) provided a corporate update regarding its outstanding listed unsecured convertible debentures (TSX: AH.DB), issued on June 27, 2019 and maturing on June 27, 2022. Further to the Company’s announcements on February 1, and March 1, 16, and 31, 2022, the Forbearance Agreement, entered into between the Company and holders of Convertible Debt representing approximately 62% of the aggregate principal amount of debentures outstanding, has been extended until April 26, 2022. The Agreement automatically renews for 14-day periods thereafter unless advance notice to the contrary is provided.


Debra BorchardtApril 11, 2022
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Legal adult-use cannabis sales could begin within weeks as the state has approved seven licenses for companies already selling medical marijuana. The news came during a meeting held today by videoconference with the five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission. The commission licensed 13 individual dispensaries located throughout New Jersey, but the seven companies must pay upward of $1 million in fees associated with the expanded licenses.

“The path to get there does not have to be any specific length of time,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “It doesn’t have to be 30 days. It can be less. It can be more.”

The companies assured the commission that they had the supply and inventory ready to support the business. “I do expect to see some heavy lines and heavy traffic around some of these facilities,” said Dianna Houenou, chairwoman of the commission.

George Archos, Verano (OTC: VRNOF) Founder and Chief Executive Officer said, “Today’s announcement is truly a monumental day for cannabis in New Jersey. The introduction of personal use sales will provide tremendous economic growth, tax revenue, and career opportunities for the benefit of countless New Jersey residents and businesses. On behalf of Verano, we are ready to welcome personal use customers alongside our valued medical patients at our New Jersey Zen Leaf dispensaries, where our attentive staff will provide compassionate care and counsel for our visitors for years to come. I’d like to thank Governor Murphy, CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown, and all the Commissioners, for their leadership in bringing this historic transition to life.”

Verano’s New Jersey footprint consists of three cannabis dispensaries operated under the Company’s flagship Zen Leaf brand in Elizabeth (117 Spring St), Lawrence Township (3256 Brunswick Pike), and Neptune Township (2100 Route 66), along with a state-of-the-art, 120,000 square foot cultivation and processing facility in Branchburg. Nationally, the Company’s active operations span 13 states, comprised of 95 dispensaries and 12 cultivation and processing facilities with more than 1 million square feet of cultivation capacity.

Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) also made a statement on Twitter saying, “Today, the CRC gave us the green light to begin adult-use sales at our New Jersey locations pending final inspection and licensure. We look forward to sharing our passion for the plant with recreational customers and welcoming them to the cannabis community.”

Other companies given approval were Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF)and TerrAscend (OTC: TRSSF)


Leland RadovanovicMarch 3, 2022
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A New Jersey cannabis license applicant is suing the state and claiming that some license winners were using certain women as props to get special female-owned business license. Curio Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of privately-owned Curio Wellness based out of Maryland,  filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of NJ, Appellate Division (#A-000947-21), against New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) for a stay of Alternative Treatment Center license awards in the Central Region, alleging application fraud from several of the awardees of the coveted licenses. 

Curio Holdings is claiming that because of  fraudulent Women Business Enterprise certifications (WBE) Altus New Jersey, LLC (Altus) and Holistic NJ I LLC (Holistic) among others, should have their license awards withdrawn and a stay on awards put in place.

WBE certifications are acquired through the Department of Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services. To qualify for the M/WBE certification,, a business or enterprise has to be either be fully owned and controlled by a minority or woman or has 51% ownership interest or stock held by minorities and/or women and the management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the minorities and/or women who own it. Applicants get 90 points out of a possible 900 points for being a minority or women-led company.

Curio Holdings writes that NJCRC previously responded to its question on whether it fully vetted individual company M/WBE credentials by stating that “[a]pplicants that provided an approved New Jersey Department of Treasury issued MBE/WBE/Veteran-Business/Disabled Veteran Business certification were awarded the maximum points for this category.” In other words, NJCRC trusts the department’s certifications. 

Tangled Web Of Connections

The lawsuit outlines the alleged fraudulent WBE certifications for Altus, Holistic, AP NJ Health, and CHM Consulting, but the Altus and Holistic allegations are a tangled web of relationships and potential corporate system gaming.

Altus’ principal ownership lists  Katherine Bio. The lawsuit alleges that she has little to no experience in the management or daily operations of a cannabis business and has not been seen or heard at any of the previous host community approval meetings, nor was her ownership and Altus’ WBE certification touted publicly. Ms. Bio did however hold the principal position of “medical advisory committee” for Standard Farms, a once troubled Pennsylvania-licensed cannabis cultivator. Tilt Holdings (OTC: TLLTF) acquired Standard Farms in 2019 in a deal valued at $40 million. The company said that Bio was no longer associated with Standard Farms.

Instead of Bio, Robert Pease and Peter Goldrath have publicly represented Altus. Pease was the previous president and chief financial officer at Franklin BioScence. Mr. Goldrath was co-founder of Standard Farms, alongside Katherine Bio and her husband Peter A. Bio, the founder of Standard Farms. Both Goldrath and Mr. Bio are partners at a private cannabis investment firm called FocusGrowth Asset Management LP (FocusGrowth). 

The lawsuit alleges that the most telling fact that Altus’ WBE certification may be using Bio as a propare public comments from Goldrath that Altus’ funding and management will be supplied through management services and funding agreements with FocusGrowth, where both he and Mr. Bio are partners. 

Standard Farms’ Female Trouble

Mr. Bio and Mr. Goldrath, in their past lives at Standard Farms, have allegedly and unsuccessfully attempted to use a woman to game the application system to win more points. 

A former director of administrative operations for Standard Farms, Lisa Pabon, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in 2018 against the company. She alleged that Mr. Bio and Mr. Goldrath fired her for refusing to defraud New Jersey during the 2018 RFA process. They wanted her to agree to claim that she was the “Equal Opportunity and Director of Community Outreach” and “Chief Administrative Officer” at Altus on the application – positions she never held at a company she never worked for. 

“I wasn’t going to go to jail for lying,” she told the Inquirer in 2019.

In the same lawsuit, Lisa Pabon also alleged that Standard Farms “sold product with defective/leaky cartridges” that she believed were emptied and recycled instead of being destroyed as required by law.

Although returned, there was no record in the state’s seed-to-sale cannabis tracking system. She documented at least $15,000 worth of marijuana oil returned from patients and vendors. Instead of responding to her concerns, Standard Farms fired her and later told the court that she was terminated for being rude, incompetent, and difficult to work with. 

The case was dismissed pending private arbitration, so Green Market Report is unable to confirm the results of the arbitration. In addition to this lawsuit, Standard Farms had multiple allegations from whistleblowers lobbied against the company in 2019. 

According to the Inquirer, Renee Kelso, the former director of quality assurance at Standard Farms, quit her job after trying to prevent the company from using hydrogen peroxide mist spray to control mold and mildew – a practice explicitly banned in the states for cannabis. 

Another executive, Paul Karlovich, quit Standard Farms because he said the company “made him do things that he wasn’t comfortable with.” He alleged the company broke the law and brought in seeds and cutting illegally after the 30-day deadline and that the company had neither the tools to mitigate the airborne mildew dust in the greenhouses from the humid climate of the Poconos nor proper odor mitigation system. 

After the Inquirer published the whistleblower’s stories and complaints, TerraVida Holistic Centers, immediately removed Standard Farms products from its stores. 

Holistic NJ A Layer Deeper

Curio also suggests that there’s more woman propping for  WBE fraud at Holistic NJ, a shell for Holistic Industries and where Amy Singer is listed as its principal owner. However, NJCRC’s award letter was penned to Josh Genderson, the CEO and chairman of Holistic Industries, a multistate operator of cannabis companies in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and California.

This alone begs the question of Holistic NJ ownership, management and the day-to-operational control necessary to qualify for the WBE certification. In other words, if Singer is leading the company shouldn’t the correspondence be directed toward her?

Here’s where the relationships get tangled because Amy Singer, the purported owner of Holistic NJ, is married to Justin Singer, a partner at Feuerstein Kulick LLP, a cannabis boutique law firm that is named as the outside general counsel for Holistic Industries. Justin Singer is also a partner at FocusGrowth, along with Mr. Bio and Mr. Goldrath and two additional partners at Feuerstein Kulick.

From the Curio documents, it appears that FocusGrowth and Feuerstein Kulick principals are involved in both applications. This would disqualify both Altus and Holistic NJ Applications for violating the 2019 RFA rule that “significantly involved persons” can only be associated with one application. 

The lawsuit goes on the allege WBE fraud from CHM Consulting and misgivings about AP NJ Health’s application score based on prior predatory practices.

While it could be perceived as just sour grapes on Curio’s part, there is big money at stake here. 

Cannabis licenses are as valuable as they have ever been, especially in states where the number of them are capped. Plus, this wouldn’t be the first time a company was accused of using stand-ins to get a license. Harvest Health & Recreation paid $500,000 to settle a charge that it misrepresented a minority ownership in Ohio in 2020. The company said the company was minority owned while all the correspondence was going to the now former CEO Steve White. New Jersey may need to do more vetting when it comes to its social equity applicants.

This lawsuit is ongoing with​​ merits brief due on 4/18/2022.


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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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