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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State

NJBAC welcomes first Executive Director of the Cannabis Training Academy

Trenton, NJ - The NJ Business Action Center (NJBAC) has named Tauhid Chappell as the first Executive Director of its Cannabis Training Academy (CTA). Set to launch in late 2023, the CTA aims to assist individuals, particularly those from underserved communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, in pursuing an adult-use cannabis operator's license or engaging in ancillary businesses. Enrolled students will have access to reliable information from trusted sources due to the complexity of the application process.

"The cannabis industry in New Jersey is flourishing each day," stated Secretary of State Tahesha Way. "By investing in knowledgeable staff who foster educational opportunities, we are preparing for the future. The appointment of the new CTA Executive Director is a significant stride towards the public launch of the CTA. Through accessible education, particularly for those historically affected by cannabis prohibition, we are building a stronger and fairer New Jersey."

Announced in late 2022, the no-cost CTA will provide online courses to New Jersey residents aged 21 and above interested in obtaining an adult-use cannabis license. Eligible students must qualify as social equity, legacy, Impact Zone, diverse-owned, or microbusiness applicants. Industry experts will teach classes on the application process, legal requirements, and best practices in the cannabis business, including live Q&A sessions.

As the Executive Director, Chappell will be responsible for delivering comprehensive educational experiences, developing and expanding the curriculum, managing technical assistance, and establishing a robust cannabis professional network. With his background in founding the Philadelphia Cannabusiness Association and organizing conferences focused on cannabis business and advocacy, as well as his experience in journalism and higher education, Chappell brings valuable expertise to the CTA.

"I'm honored to lead New Jersey’s Cannabis Training Academy, supporting our state's commitment to an equitable cannabis industry. This academy is dedicated to legacy operators, communities affected by the War on Drugs, LGBTQ+ and Indigenous communities, and those who've served. I look forward to ensuring these aspiring entrepreneurs receive the resources they need to thrive in New Jersey,” said Chappell.

Penni Wild, Deputy Director of NJBAC, expressed, "The incorporation of the Cannabis Training Academy into the New Jersey Business Action Center will cater to the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the cannabis industry. Tauhid's extensive expertise and background in the cannabis field, along with his involvement in higher education and media, will undoubtedly enhance the CTA and equip students with the necessary information to thrive."

The Cannabis Training Academy represents an innovative approach to equitably nurture the cannabis industry in New Jersey. Providing educational opportunities that educate, empower, and establish business operations is crucial to repairing the damage inflicted on marginalized communities and individuals who faced mass criminalization prior to legalization.

The New Jersey Business Action Center serves as the State's liaison to the business community, offering free information, services, and resources across various areas such as business registration, financial programs, regulatory compliance, property selection, workforce training, and more. NJBAC comprises multiple offices, including Small Business, Business Advocacy, Export Promotion, State Planning, and the Motion Picture and Television Commission. Access to NJBAC services is available through NJ DOS - NJ Business Action Center or Your first stop for doing business in NJ or by calling 1-800-JERSEY-7.


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