7 vying for 2 Montclair licenses to sell recreational marijuana
A month after Montclair saw its first licensed sale of recreational marijuana, a new slate of potential retailers has emerged to fill two more spots.
In an industry that is booming across the country, the list – provided to Montclair Local – is shorter than officials had anticipated. Seven enterprises met the Aug. 31 application deadline. It is a disparate group that includes a company with headquarters in Atlanta and a husband and wife, who are seeking to open their first cannabis shop.
The two new operations would compete with Ascend, already ensconced on Bloomfield Avenue and which, after protracted negotiations with the town, recently added recreational or “adult use” sales to its medicinal marijuana business.
In addition, the town accepted applications from two cultivators vying for a single license to grow marijuana for distribution to retail stores. Another license is available for cannabis manufacturing, which entails turning the marijuana into point-of-sale products, be it pre-rolled, edibles or topicals. All candidates have to receive approval for a state license as well.
With the Montclair screening process in its beginning phase, the Township Council has yet to take up new applications for debate or vote.
But at least one retail vendor, Moodi Day, cleared the first hurdle when the company was approved last week by the Montclair Planning Board.
Moodi Day’s owners, Jacquelin DeVore and her husband, Biyerem Okengwu, both lawyers, told the Planning Board that they began a wholesale marijuana business two years ago.
Their goal, DeVore said, was “to really get our feet wet.”
They present a sharp contrast to Ascend, a publicly traded company with 22 locations, including three in New Jersey.
“With all that research and knowledge, we’re coming to start the business in the adult-use cannabis space,” DeVore said.
With a lease already in place for a 3,200-square-foot space at 151 Valley Road, the couple has a head start. DeVore said they anticipate a flow of about 30 customers an hour soon after opening and a staff of about 20, with at least half the workers coming from the area.
If awarded a license, Moodi Day would create a kind of mini holistic complex. Its neighbor would be the Salt Float Center that provides salt baths in pods that promise a “euphoria which can last days where you are focused, unburdened and at peace.”
Another applicant for a retail license is Treevana. While the company is based in Atlanta, it has told officials it would consider moving its headquarters to Montclair if approved.
The additional five retail applicants are all based in New Jersey — Mad Gardner; Unity Rd. of Montclair; Night Owl; Citrus NJ and Kush Connection.