Economic Developmental Authority approves loan of $357,000 to a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township
The NJ Economic Developmental Authority approved a loan of $357,000 on Thursday 12 September 2013 in an effort to support the medical marijuana law. The loan was approved for a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township that is planned to open in mid-October.
The dispensary, which will go by the name Compassionate Care Foundation Inc., will use the funds to buy equipment and cultivate marijuana in an area which will produce enough drug for about 1,500 patients a month. According to the CEO William Thomas, the funds will also be utilized to add 12 more jobs to the existing 7 which have already been created.
According to statistics provided by the state Health Department, there are about 1,233 registered patients in New Jersey that require the drug. However, now that the second dispensary is close to opening, more patients are expected to sign up.
Compassionate Care Foundation has allocated a large warehouse where the drug will be grown. The foundation is poised to become the second medical marijuana dispensary to open in New Jersey. Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair is New Jersey’s first medical marijuana dispensary which opened in December. It has served about 130 patients several times. According to Thomas, who is a former medical researcher, the second dispensary is expected to generate about $2.8 million a year in state sales taxes. He also said that the fact that the development authority gave a 15-0 vote legitimizes the business in the eyes of the public.
However, before the vote, Michele Brown, the authority’s president and chief executive emphasized the fact that the loan was not being financed by taxpayers. He also said that the agency had sought a legal opinion from the Obama administration to make sure there won’t be any legal issues later on as marijuana still remains an illegal substance. The loan was approved and lent to the dispensary at a 4.65% interest rate which has to be paid within 4 years.
The attorney who filed the lawsuit, Anne Davis, said that she was surprised by the authority’s vote and agreed that it was a positive development in the program’s troubled history. According to Davis, despite the 3-1/2 years that have passed since the law was passed, the lawsuit still has merit because only very few people can buy marijuana for medical purposes. The recent signing of a law eases some restrictions and makes it possible for severely ill children to use the drug which was restricted before.
After approval of the grant, Thomas said, “We know there is a demand by patients and this triples our production.” He also said that with the opening of the second medical marijuana dispensary, they can now serve about 1,500 patients a month as compared to the 500 patients that are being served right now. There is a huge demand which they will be able to meet.
“We know there is a demand by patients and this triples our production.”
David Knowlton, a founder and chairman of the Compassionate Care board said that one cannot get more mainstream than the Economic Development Authority. Knowlton is also the president and chief executive of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, which is a research and consumer advocacy group.
The NJ Economic Developmental Authority which approved the loan provides bond financing, loans as well as business and tax incentives to promote business and job growth. They also provide real estate development assistance in the state.
There are six other nonprofit dispensaries, which have been selected by the state, that have struggled to raise money or find a community which is willing to host them. However, since they have not been able to find the funds, patients and advocates are suing the state over the ‘governor’s reluctance’ to implement the law and allow ill people to get relief who need it urgently.