New Jersey Gives Medical Marijuana Dispensary $357,000 Loan

In an unexpected move that signals the Christie administration’s support for New Jersey’s fledgling medical marijuana program despite its misgivings about the law, the state Economic Developmental Authority today approved a $357,000 loan to the founders of a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township that plans to open in mid-October.

Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. said it would use the money to buy equipment and expand its cultivation space, add 12 good-paying jobs to the seven it has already created, and eventually produce enough medicine for about 1,500 patients a month, said CEO Bill Thomas, formerly a medical researcher. Within 10 years, the dispensary expects to generate about $2.8 million in state sales tax, he added.

The 15-0 vote by the EDA — an independent authority connected to the Department of Treasury — “legitimizes this business in the eyes of the public,” Thomas said.

“You don’t get much more mainstream than the Economic Development Authority,” said David Knowlton, a founder and chairman of the foundation’s board and the President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, a research and consumer advocacy group. Knowlton was a deputy health commissioner under Gov. Thomas H. Kean and served on Christie’s transition team before he took office in 2010. “They are saying this is a mainstream public health issue.”

The EDA promotes business and job growth by offering bond financing, loans, business and tax incentives, and real estate development assistance, according to the authority’s website.

– Read the entire article at NJ.com.

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