BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – It is being called a game-changing day for New Jersey’s cannabis industry. 

Dozens of up-and-coming dispensaries are getting their slice of $12 million dollars in state joint venture equity grants.

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Each of the $250,000 grants, doled out by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), is geared towards diverse representatives of communities most impacted by the war on drugs. 

“For us, the grant is really life-changing,” said Francesca DeRogatis, co-founder and COO of Nightjar. 

After running a cannabis store in Massachusetts, the New Jersey native DeRogatis is getting ready to open a shop in Bloomfield.  

“We can market the business better, so we have the budget now to engage in marketing tactics that we weren’t able to do before,” said DeRogatis. “We’ll also be able to hire employees.” 

Nightjar will open by year’s end on Bloomfield Avenue. They are one of 48 dispensaries across the state to receive a $250,000 grant. 

“It’s really going to help me recoup a lot of those startup costs that have been crippling me in a sense,” said Jill Cohen, founding owner of Elevated by The Cannaboss Lady Dispensary, set to open later this month in Maplewood. “You need that working capital to now buy supply and keep payroll going.” 

The state initially offered grants to 24 businesses, but Governor Phil Murphy upped the ante, allowing 48 to receive grants. 

“We opened up the application process on 4/20,” said Tai Cooper with NJEDA, “and that day we got about 163 applications within the first hour or so.” 

“It’s an opportunity to be an owner, to have something for yourself,” said DeRogatis. “To have generational wealth, to do something you can be proud of, to start a business.”