Former MA Cannabis Brand Director Secures “Life-Changing” Grant In NJ

While Massachusetts loan fund lags, New Jersey disperses $12 million in equity grants

The fund established to help disadvantaged cannabis business applicants in Massachusetts has yet to produce and even made national news for the state’s mishandling of it so far, but New Jersey officials have the spigot open.

As reported by PIX11 and others in the tri-state area this week, “Dozens of up-and-coming dispensaries are getting their slice of $12 million dollars in state joint venture equity grants. … Each of the $250,000 grants, doled out by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), is geared towards diverse representatives of communities most impacted by the war on drugs.”

One of the recipients, PIX11 noted, came to that market “after running a cannabis store in Massachusetts.” In 2021, Francesca DeRogatis left New England Treatment Access, where she worked as a brand and marketing director and then in the president’s office, to return to her native New Jersey and open a shop in Bloomfield Township.

“For us, the grant is really life-changing,” DeRogatis said about the company she co-founded, Nightjar. “We can market the business better, so we have the budget now to engage in marketing tactics that we weren’t able to do before. We’ll also be able to hire employees.”