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.