Did you know?
At the time of writing this article (September 2022), New Jersey has 19 cannabis dispensaries that service recreational-use consumers. The existing businesses are multi-state operators, meaning that their brand and culture are not unique to New Jersey. We strive to be better.
ANJA wants to be amongst the first small cannabis businesses in New Jersey; with the flagship location opening in 2023, there is nothing better than knowing that the diversity and representation found in New Jersey will be the basis for the soul and culture of the business. ANJA is a certified minority business that is composed of professionals who have been consuming cannabis for decades; few things would bring together marketing professionals, an options trader, a cultivator, an economics graduate student, an operations guru, and a medical doctor to collaborate- except for something as wonderful and exciting as Cannabis. Cannabis has a deep history in New Jersey, and this comes with both promising and painful realities as ANJA begins operations.
Like most states, New Jersey’s history is fraught with economic and racial disparities when it comes to Cannabis. Over the past decade, cannabis possession charges have been heavily enforced even though medical cannabis has been legal in New Jersey since 2010. According to a Rutgers Policy Lab report titled *Cannabis Legalization in New Jersey: A Baseline Study*,
> "Every year between 2010 and 2019, at least 80% of all cannabis-related arrests have been for possession. In 2010, the number of arrests of black residents outnumbered the arrests of white persons by more than five times for selling marijuana. This number was slightly lower in 2019 at four and a half times.”
In 2020, voters chose to legalize cannabis in New Jersey via a ballot referendum. Change doesn’t come slowly, however; adult-use cannabis sales only began on April 21, 2022. Data from Politico is promising, with a recent article reporting that
> “Data from the state Judiciary, which begins March 1, 2021, shows that between that date and Aug. 15, 2022, there have been just 34 arrests for manufacturing, distributing or dispensing less than one ounce of cannabis. That’s compared to 2,117 arrests for the same offense in the two years leading up to legalization. There have also been just 556 arrests for the same offenses of between one ounce and five pounds, compared to 1,492 in the two years prior to legalization.”
In other words, the black market is still there, but the vicious cycle caused by the War on Drugs is finally ramping down. As possession records become expunged and more equitable industry practices become standard, ANJA hopes to be at the forefront of righting the wrongs of the past. This group is uniquely positioned to understand the struggles of minority communities and the lack of accountability in illicit cannabis, and is excited to bring safe and quality cannabis to New Jersey. ANJA exists out of passion, not the pursuit of profit.
When New Jersey legalized recreational cannabis, ANJA applied for licensing approval within hours of the recreational dispensary application portal opening.
For the entire team, the opportunity to work in the cannabis industry is a dream come true. Every single member of the team has personally witnessed the benefits of cannabis and is excited to be part of the wave that redefines modern cannabis users.
We look forward to becoming one with the New Jersey culture, and hope to become the epicenter of the Highland Park cannabis culture. When you have questions, we have ANJA.