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New Program Aims to Get Minorities More Involved in New Jersey's Cannabis Industry

Class was in session on the second floor of an office space near the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City on a hot July day.

But it was not just any summer school. The students gathered were learning the fine art of budtending.


The students are the inaugural attendees of the Minority Cannabis Academy, a new training organization based in Jersey City set up to teach technical skills to BIPOC individuals (Black, Indigenous people of color) wanting to work in the cannabis industry.

Classes started last month and run until early September. Twenty-five people are learning how to work in a dispensary or retail location selling medical or recreational cannabis —the job of a budtender. Also, they learn about cultivation and entrepreneurship from industry experts.

Paterson native Robert Isaiah, a retired IT professional who resides in Newark, said he does not plan to open a dispensary, because of the operating expense, or to work in one, because of previous marijuana possession charges. However, he plans to take what he learns to inform others about the intricacies of the industry, he said. 

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