Cannabis franchisor Unity Rd. will open New Jersey dispensary sites

Franchise industry, franchisors, franchisees

Cannabis dispensary franchisor Unity Rd. hopes to set up shop soon in the Garden State. In announcing its planned expansion into in New Jersey, Unity Rd.’s parent company, Item 9 Labs Corp., stated that entrepreneurs have signed three agreements that would lead to licensing for at least three Unity Rd. franchises there.

Unity Rd. and Item 9 Labs will assist the future New Jersey franchisees as they go through the licensing process. “The cannabis industry is notoriously complex, which is why we launched the Unity Rd. franchise opportunity in the first place,” said Mike Weinberger, chief franchise officer for Unity Rd. “We are already fielding an incredible amount of interest and inquiries in New Jersey. We’re often in talks with prospective franchise partners months, if not years, ahead of state-level legalization.”

New Jersey dispensary sales potential

New Jersey may begin accepting licensing applications late this year. In the initial 12 months of sales in the state, dispensaries could ring up $740 million. New Jersey officials have estimated that legalized cannabis could result in $950 million in sales per year by 2024. U.S. sales are expected to total more than $24 billion by the end of 2021. 

Unity Rd. has been seeking to expand as more states legalize cannabis use and in particular has targeted the Northeast with its efforts. Further opportunities in the region are budding in New York State, which recently paved the way for cannabis legalization

The franchisor offers a reassuring way for entrepreneurs to enter the arena of cannabis retailing because of its track record of success in guiding them through the burdensome licensing process. In addition, the leadership team of Unity Rd. has decades of experience in other aspects of the legal cannabis industry. 

Navigating the ever-changing cannabis industry

“The more access you have to industry knowledge, resources and connections in cannabis, the better,” said Ed Carpezzi, who has signed an agreement to open a New Jersey dispensary franchise with Unity Rd. “This industry is changing every day at an almost unbelievable pace, which is exciting but makes it difficult to navigate. I look to the Unity Rd. team to help me with operations, which will allow me to focus on building the business.”

Unity Rd.’s franchise partners benefit from a proven supply chain developed by Item 9 Labs Corp., the large-scale cannabis cultivation and production company that recently acquired Unity Rd. Item 9 Labs plans to develop or partner with cultivation facilities in states where dispensaries operate. The combination of the Unity Rd. cannabis retail franchise and the wide range of Item 9 Labs products makes Item 9 Labs Corp. one of the nation’s first vertically integrated cannabis franchise companies.

Nationwide, Unity Rd. has signed agreements with more than 10 entrepreneurial groups that plan to open franchises. A franchisee’s total investment ranges from $1 million to $2.5 million, with those amounts including a $100,000 franchise fee for one dispensary or $250,000 for three. 

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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