NJBAC Announces List of Instructors for Cannabis Training Academy Launching in 2024

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NJBAC’s Cannabis Training Academy welcomed their first set of instructors to the program.

In a recent press release from the Department of State (DOS) (1), mentioned that the New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) picked their first set of instructors for the Cannabis Training Academy (CTA) which will help the state’s technical assistance program.

The CTA is due to launch in 2024. Communities that have been “disproportionately impacted” from cannabis or are located within “designated Impact Zones” will be provided with information to obtain an adult-use cannabis operator’s license by the CTA (1). The program will educate students with instructors who teach or work in the New Jersey cannabis industry and also be a tool on whether the cannabis industry is the best fit for them.

“We look forward to launching the Cannabis Training Academy in 2024. This program will build upon the work happening throughout state government to create a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse cannabis industry,” Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way expressed, Secretary of State in New Jersey (1).


“Our goal is to provide key support to Jersey-owned, Jersey-local, entrepreneurs who are interested in pursuing a recreational cannabis license through this virtual technical assistance program,” Melanie Willoughby, NJBAC Executive Director, said (1). “We are proud to provide resources and support to budding cannabis entrepreneurs and current local operators who are striving to make a positive impact in their communities.”

“The New Jersey cannabis community is an important partner to build out this academy,” Penni Wild, NJBAC Deputy Executive Director, commented (1). “More than 250 people formally expressed interest in applying to be a CTA instructor. After three months of screening, vetting and interviews, the first 25 instructors have been selected to help us initiate and launch this first-of-its kind cannabis technical assistance program in New Jersey.”

“Each of our selected instructors bring years of experience, success, some painful lessons learned, and deep insight to budding entrepreneurs who are interested in stepping into the Garden State’s cannabis industry,” Tauhid Chappell CTA Executive Director, explained (1). “Many have personally written and submitted applications for, and have succeeded in winning, cannabis licenses in New Jersey and/or other states too. This wealth of knowledge gives us confidence that prospective CTA students will be getting the most relevant, on-the-ground, guidance and wisdom from those who’ve been through the exact process and know what it takes to enter and thrive in this industry.”

As mentioned in the press release, the 25 CTA instructors along with their designated courses are (1):

  • Rosemarie Moyeno Matos – Gaining Municipal Proof of Local Support
  • Chuck Latini – Understanding Zoning Approvals and Site Plans
  • Stephanie Thomas - Real Estate Considerations
  • Cecilia Oyediran – Understanding The Application Scoring Criteria and Application Fees, Writing Your Personal History & Entity Disclosure Forms and Submitting A Successful Application
  • Chirali Patel – Understanding and Drafting Business Plan and Management Profiles, Writing A Regulatory Compliance Plan, Preparing your Conditional Application Submission, and Understanding the Conditional Conversion Application Process
  • Lauren Rudick – Crafting and Understanding Business Formation Documents, Understanding Management Service Agreements ("MSA") and Financial Source Agreements ("FSA"), and Understanding Vendor Contractor Agreements
  • Jessica Velazquez – Understanding Cannabis Taxation
  • Dharshini Casinathen – Describing Your Business, Drafting Mission Statement & Value Propositions, Organizing A Qualified Team, Describing Your Products and Services, Writing An Executive Summary
  • Devan McLaren – Creating A Financial Forecasting Plan
  • James E. Jackson III – Preparing to Obtain Liability Insurance
  • Patricia Walker – Understanding Your Business and Financial Plan, Preparing An Operating Plan, Describing Your Business Experience
  • Hugh Giordano – Understanding Labor Peace Agreements
  • Daniel Pierre – Understanding Collective Bargaining Agreements
  • Tahir Johnson – Creating A Workforce Development and Job Creation Plan and Creating A Community Impact, Social Responsibility and Research Statement
  • Marie Montmarquet – Creating A Safety and Security Plan and Drafting Standard Operating Procedures for Delivery
  • Tim Weigand – Creating Your Environmental Impact Plan
  • Monica Werkheiser – Understanding The Fundamentals of Standard Operating Procedures, and Drafting SOPs for Adverse Event Reporting, Quality Assurance/Control and Recall
  • Kindalyn Thompson – Drafting SOPs for Packaging and Labeling, Inventory Control, Storage, Diversion Prevention, Recordkeeping and Waste Disposal/Sanitation
  • Jason Gully – Drafting SOPs for Cultivation
  • Kevin Serwatowski - Drafting SOPs for Manufacturing
  • Charles Smith – Drafting SOPs for Wholesale
  • Sequoah Turner – Drafting SOPs for Distribution
  • Suzan Nickelson – Drafting SOPs for Dispensing
  • Renata Serban – Drafting SOPs for Accounting & Tax Compliance
  • Anita Bear – Drafting SOPs for Age Verification, Secure Transport of Cannabis and Reporting of Test Results for Cannabis

The CTA program will be offered at no-cost to state residents that are 21 years old and up. To learn more about the program through New Jersey’s Department of State press release (1), click here.


  1. Official Site of the State of New Jersey (accessed Jan 22, 2024).