RIPT Dispensary became the the first licensed medical cannabis dispensary to open in Jersey City, just the second dispensary to open in Hudson County, and the 43rd in New Jersey.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, an early supporter of legalized cannabis, cut the ribbon at 220 Broadway, which used to be Wilson’s Carpet, this afternoon.
“We were one of the state leaders advocating for legalization. We were the first to push for decriminalization. I’m excited we’re finally seeing the state move forward with licenses so the local governments can open,” Fulop declared.
“Ript has been committed to the neighborhood for some time. I think they’re going to do really well here.”
Regarding his Democratic bid for governor in 2025, Fulop said his campaign would begin releasing state policy positions in August and that would include cannabis.
“It’s been an amazing journey after five years. We’re proud to open Jersey City’s first independently owned and operated medical dispensary,” stated Ript Co-Founder Jonathan Bednarsh.
“Our investment and emphasis in employee training, community hiring, and accessibility show our intent to be a contributing member of the evolving Jersey City community.”
Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey said she was supportive of the effort, even though the business is no longer in her ward after redistricting.
After the ribbon cutting, Bednarsh and fellow Ript Co-Founder Adam Hershey gave Fulop, Prinz-Arey, and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, also the Democratic state Senate nominee in the 31st Legislative District, a walking tour of the dispensary.
Bednarsh said they worked with Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker’s (D-3), nonprofit Team Walker, to help city youth.
In addition, they have been working with McKnight’s nonprofit AngelaCARES, which helps seniors and those faced with food insecurity.
Furthermore, RIPT is working with Hudson County Community College (HCCC) to get students in their cannabis studies program internships to learn how to get into the industry.
“We were both looking at cannabis, not just because it’s an exciting industry but because there’s a social component of giving back to the community, which appealed to us,” Bednarsh explained.
He noted that while looking around New Jersey, they had real estate problems finding a location until they came to Jersey City. Even in Jersey City, they had difficulty finding an ideal location.
“Any business is hard to run. As an entrepreneur, you face all kinds of challenges. Cannabis is way harder than that. There’s multiple tiers of regulatory tier and compliance and finance issues normal businesses don’t face,” Bednarsh said.
As a result, he said the balance between craziness and persistence can be delicate at times.
“It’s a very difficult business to get into: There’s not really any margin for error,” he added.
In December 2021, Ript Dispensary won a medical cannabis dispensary license to operate in Jersey City from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) under the name “The Community Wellness Center of NJ.” They also changed their location.
They have already submitted paperwork to have adult-use cannabis sales, something that several of the 2019-2021 license winners have already done.
The Ript location is notable for the “Carpet Guy” statue, made famous in The Sopranos opening credits. The owners said they have no intention of taking it down.