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Ice T wins license to bring Medicine Woman dispensary to Jersey City

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The rapper and actor will partner with a longtime friend to open the new cannabis retail shop a few short miles from New York City.


Ice T’s cold demeanor made him a pioneer of gangsta rap and a star TV cop. Now the New Jersey native’s blunt delivery has helped secure a license to open a cannabis dispensary in one of New Jersey’s most hotly contested markets.

Ice-T and his partner Charis Burrett have the green light to move forward with plans to open a 5,000 square foot Medicine Woman cannabis dispensary in Jersey City, which is just a few miles from downtown New York City. Burrett is a former Playboy model who also owns The Medicine Woman dispensary in Bellflower, CA. Ice-T said he and Burrett have been friends for over 25 years.

Their application for a conditional retail license was one of four approved by Jersey City’s cannabis board Monday. The other four dispensaries that are coming to Jersey City are Medusa NJ, Oceanfront Holdings and The Other Side Dispensary. The city planning board and state regulators must also give their approval before the new store can open its doors.

Staying close to home

Ice-T, born Tracy Lauren Marrow, owns a property nearby in Edgewater, NJ. He told the board he chose Jersey City because, “There’s only one street there in Edgewater,” which he felt would hurt business. “I said ‘Let’s go to Jersey City, my neighbor,’ Ice-T remembers. “I’m here every night and going out, I love Jersey City.”

He was born in Newark and grew up in Summit, but found fame as a rapper on the West Coast. Ice eventually came back east to film episodes of Law & Order. Now he plans to use his pot platform to pave a way for minorities to enter the fast-growing industry.

“I’ve dedicated my life and career to giving back and paving the way for minorities… As a New Jersey native, I’m excited for the opportunity legalization offers our community and I look forward to ushering in a new era for cannabis in the state… “I’m Black, I’m a veteran, my whole career has been about helping people. Nobody starts a business thinking about social impact… But it’s lucrative enough that you should want to help the community.

Ice-T, Press release

Jersey City resident Lorenzo Richardson, who is a Board of Education member, was pleased with the location they chose for the dispensary.

“I spent my entire life in this city,” Richardson told the new operators. “I grew up in Montgomery projects. I’ve seen the weed come in, I’ve seen the cocaine, I’ve seen the crack come in, I’ve seen the heroin. I’ve seen what it’s done. I truly respect the fact that you chose to put it on Tonnelle Avenue. You really don’t know what that means for me.”

Ice has said publicly he doesn’t use cannabis, but he doesn’t judge those who do. This classic scene of Ice getting stoned in Leprechaun in the Hood might be the closest he gets to the plant. But he couldn’t resist the chance to bring opportunities to communities and individuals most harmed by the failed War on Drugs through The Medicine Woman’s new location.

The woman behind The Medicine Woman

Ice-T said his partner Charis B is an authority on cannabis who will “ensure a premium experience for our customers and community.” Charis Burrett told officials that she wants to provide a safe location for people to purchase a variety products, including her own brand.

Burrett went to high school in New Jersey and has been in the cannabis industry since 2015. Her business started as a nonprofit delivery service. Now she intends to keep putting affordability and social equity first at the Jersey City location.

“We plan on hiring quite a large percentage of our employees from Jersey City” Burrett told local media Tuesday. “We plan on doing job fairs to find employees that are looking to be in the industry,” she added.

The newly approved dispensaries will have to meet strict social equity guidelines set by the city. Social equity measures will include partnerships with the Last Prisoner Project, and local Arts, Employment, Health, and Education programs.

To apply for job opportunities with The Medicine Woman, local residents should send their resumes to HR@themedwoman.com.

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Dan Reagans

Dan Reagans is a veteran journalist now living in Los Angeles. The Harlem native has covered culture and media for over a decade.

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Cannabusiness

Underage And Shopping For Weed? Good Luck Scoring In This State

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Now that marijuana is legal in a variety of places, a lot of people are concerned about teens and access. And while this positive mentality surrounding the drug might push young people to try it out or to fear it less, legal retailers, at least those in Colorado, are doing everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

On Tuesday, Colorado regulators shared there’s a 98% rate of compliance with requiring people to show IDs before entering cannabis retailers. The report shows that 190 compliance checks have been done so far this year, with only four instances failing to ask for IDs.

what I learned attending a cannabis and sex workshop
Photo by Kirill Vasikev/EyeEm/Getty Images

Colorado state laws make it clear that non-compliance with this law can quickly lead to a lot of trouble for these businesses, with employees caught putting their cannabis licenses at risk and facing up to a $100,000 fine.

“Unauthorized sale of Regulated Marijuana to an individual under the age of 21 is considered a license violation affecting public safety,” said the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). “Businesses must remain vigilant in establishing internal measures to prevent underage access, and as the MED continues to monitor licensee compliance, it will evaluate business practices licensees have adopted to prevent unauthorized/underage sales.”

RELATED: There Have Been Fewer Cases Of Synthetic Cannabis Poisoning In These States

Colorado asks its cannabis retailers to vet everyone that comes into the shop and actively look for people who are perusing the store and look like they’re younger than 21, verifying their age with an ID check. Retailers have the power to turn people away if they think their ID is fake.

RELATED: Missouri’s Marijuana Legalization Measure Officially Approved For November Ballot

While surprising in its cohesiveness, the data shared by Colorado has been backed by other studies that make it clear that legalizing cannabis doesn’t increase underage drug use.

“Legalized cannabis retail sales might be followed by the increased occurrence of cannabis onsets for older adults, but not for underage persons who cannot buy cannabis products in a retail outlet,” wrote the authors of a study on legalization and underage cannabis consumption published this year.



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Here’s how to apply for a New York dispensary license

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Residents and nonprofits with ties to the Drug War will receive priority access and support, according to the state cannabis board


On July 14, New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) approved the application form for the state’s first retail cannabis licenses. The cannabis board released a completed draft of the form for applicants to reference on the OCM’s website and social media.

The OCM’s 50-page mockup application is a study guide for New Yorkers who want to become dispensary owners. The application portal has not yet opened. Full eligibility regulations can be found here.

Prospective dispensary applicants are encouraged to sign up for push notifications and the OCM mailing list to receive timely updates about the application window.

NYC Mayor Adams (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)
“Enjoy yourself, light up, but most importantly, spend some money,” said Mayor Adams in June. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams’’ proposed a short-term $4.8 million social equity investment fund for outreach efforts and license application assistance. The outreach would target communities most affected by the War on Drugs, aiming to give them a leg up in the legal cannabis industry.

Some are projecting that The Empire State will start adult-use weed sales in late 2022 or early 2023. So now is the time for New Yorkers to stake their claim in the new green rush.

Related

New York Mayor Comes Out Strong for Legalization With Equity

With state officials projecting $1.25 billion in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs created over the industry’s next six years, fair access to licenses has been a hot topic ever since former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature legalized weed for all adults in March 2021. The OCM tweeted, “New York’s first dispensaries will be owned by those harmed by the over criminalization of cannabis.”

Truck selling marijuana products operates in Manhattan.
New York’s first round of adult use cannabis licenses are here. (Roman-Tiraspolsky/Adobe Stock)

The cannabis board’s website also has a detailed guide for applying for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing licenses here.

More application resources are available on the OCM’s Licensing page and below.

How to apply for a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License

The OCM says the license application opening date will be announced with no less than two weeks’ notice, and applicants will have at least 30 days to submit applications before a closing date is announced. The OCM will grant conditional licenses to select applicants who will have to renew their license within four years of receiving it.

Who is eligible?

New York state will prioritize this first round of licenses for justice-involved individuals convicted of nonviolent cannabis charges.

Eligibility requirements for applicants include:

  • A “significant presence in New York State,” either by individual residency, a corporate location “organized under the laws of New York State.”
  • The individual applicant (or at least one individual of an entity, must either be justice-involved and convicted of a marijuana-related offense prior to March 31, 2021, have “a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent,” who was convicted, or be a dependent of a convicted individual.
  • If the applicant is not justice -involved, they may be eligible “if they hold or have held, for a minimum of two years, at least ten percent ownership interest in, and control of, a qualifying business.”
  • Nonprofit organizations that directly serve and employ justice-involved individuals, and can prove positive net assets.
  • Individuals who meet this criteria of justice involvement must be given a majority stake in the business, should it be given a license.
  • Applicants must be at least 21 years of age

Related

New ‘Seeds of Change’ report rates states on cannabis equity, finds most lacking

The OCM also states that they will evaluate eligible applications on a myriad of factors. Factors include: If the justice-involved applicant was themself convicted, if they were a resident at the time of conviction, and the socioeconomic factors of that residential area.

Other factors include the size of the business, physical location, and any fees, fines, or violations brought by authorities.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the OCM with questions and concerns.

This story will be updated as application details and deadlines are released by the OCM.

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Amelia Williams

New York-based freelance cannabis journalist Amelia Williams is a graduate of San Francisco State University’s journalism program, and a former budtender. Williams has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState, MG Magazine, Culture Magazine, and Cannabis Now, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bold Italic.

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New York Cannabis Sales Should Start Soon — Here’s What You Should Know

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New Yorkers will be able to purchase legal recreational marijuana by the end of the year. The process has been long, with many ups and downs, but it appears as though the state has finally figured out how to create a new business that benefits those who’ve been affected by the War on Drugs. Here’s what you should know about New York’s legal market.

When can you shop?

Difference Between A Marijuana Dispensary And A Liquor Store
Photo by mikroman6/Getty Images

RELATED: New York Senate Just Approved This Critical Marijuana Bill

Buying marijuana is still illegal, something that’s confusing for anyone living in New York and witnessing the number of retail shops that are around. Still, this is about to change, with the first recreational dispensaries expected to open by the end of the year.

Who gets a license?

Study: More Than 40% Of People With COVID-19 Never Do This
Photo by Toa Heftiba via Unsplash

RELATED: New York’s Draft Conditional Retail Regulations Raise Practical Concerns

The first licenses to be handed out will be the ones belonging to the conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) program. These are 150 licenses provided to “justice involved” applicants, who must also have experience owning and running a business. Applicants can submit their information by the end of August. You can read more details here.

What if you don’t qualify for a license just yet?

marijuana dispenary
Photo by Zummolo/Getty Images

RELATED: Cannabis Packaging In New York Is About To Get A Grown-Up Makeover

More licenses are expected to come out soon, with different requirements for different businesses, which range from weed bars to regular dispensaries. This will all be revealed in the coming months, with applicants being only able to apply for one license at a time.



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