A cannabis dispensary franchise from Arizona signed agreements with three cannabis business hopefuls for expansion into New Jersey. Each team will pursue at least one dispensary license to open a Unity Rd. shop, under the Item 9 Labs umbrella, in the Garden State.
Unity Rd. is ahead of the start of adult use sales with its deal. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission this week announced its first public meeting will be held on April 12, the next step in the process of creating a legal adult use cannabis market in New Jersey.
New Jersey is expected to generate close to $1 billion in annual retail sales by 2024 according to trade rag Marijuana Business Daily. Legal cannabis sales could start as early as later this year.
Unity Rd. is actively seeking more Northeast franchise partners, according to a release.
“The more access you have to industry knowledge, resources and connections in cannabis, the better – and those things are not easy to come by,” said Ed Carpezzi, who recently signed an agreement to open a Unity Rd. dispensary in New Jersey, in a prepared statement.
“I was originally hesitant to join a franchise – a bit unwilling to give up certain freedoms – but I quickly realized how critical it is to have an ally in this industry, and that’s Unity Rd,” Carpezzi said. “This industry is changing every day at an almost unbelievable pace, which is exciting, but makes it difficult to navigate. I look to the Unity Rd. team to help me with operations, which will allow me to focus on building the business.”
Operator Item 9 Labs currently offers 75 active cannabis strains and 150-plus differentiated cannabis vape products as well as premium concentrates in multiple southwest states.
This industry is changing every day at an almost unbelievable pace, which is exciting, but makes it difficult to navigate. I look to the Unity Rd. team to help me with operations, which will allow me to focus on building the business.
– Ed Carpezzi
“We want to empower local owners so they can confidently and successfully contribute to their communities – it all goes back to our overarching goal to inspire confidence in the benefits of cannabis for all,” explained Unity Rd.’s Chief Franchise Officer Mike Weinberger in a prepared statement.
Weinberger said that the industry is “notoriously complex”—federal scheduling by the Drug Enforcement Agency makes banking, insurance, and taxes challenging. Additionally, laws vary state-by-state and ordinances often vary by municipality. Still, interest is high, and Leafly found that it was the fastest growing American job sector last year, pre-pandemic.
“We are already fielding an incredible amount of interest and inquiries in New Jersey, and we’re often in talks with prospective franchise partners months, if not years, ahead of state-level legalization,” Weinberger said. “But it’s not too late to get into the industry. In fact, now’s the perfect time to get your foot in the door before the industry accelerates forward.”
Unity Rd. has signed agreements with several groups across the country with investments ranging from $1 million to $2.5 million, including a $100,000 franchise fee for a single unit or $250,000 for three units. Prospective Unity Rd. franchise partner should have access to a minimum $1 million in liquid capital and may be owner-operators or passive owners with an experienced manager running operations.