How to Find Cannabis Business Lenders in NJ

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
November 1, 2022

Becoming one of the fastest-growing sectors in NJ’s economy, the cannabis industry pulled in nearly $80 Million in its first quarter of recreational sales. With New Jersey slowly issuing more cannabis business licenses, new businesses are faced with a minimum startup cost of nearly $50,000, while being excluded from most funding options.

Signed in 2021, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act legalized the sale and recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 years or older. Previously, cannabis was only legally available for medical use under the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act signed in 2010.

Priority Applications

Because of the large number of cannabis-related convictions in certain communities and to increase the diversity of business owners, New Jersey started Priority Applications. Priority applications allow for minorities, women, disabled veterans and those with cannabis convictions to have priority in starting cannabis businesses.

Three types of cannabis businesses receive priority review — diversely owned businesses, social equity businesses and impact zone businesses. Though not guaranteed to be approved, these three business types are at the front of the line for a New Jersey cannabis license.

Types of Cannabis Loans

Because of the multifaceted eco-system of the cannabis industry, business owners can access a wide array of loan types that range from agricultural to laboratory. This article explores some of the most common loan options for cannabis products and businesses.

Real Estate Loans

Almost every business will need real estate, whether it’s to cultivate, store or sell cannabis products. The types of business operations you have will determine what kind of real estate you’ll need, which can cost anywhere from $100 per sqft to $400 per sqft in New Jersey.

Equipment Loan Options

Since cannabis businesses have multiple functions, the equipment needed to support those uses can be costly. Equipment loans would be most useful to processors, extractors and testers with a New Jersey cannabis license for their laboratories. Equipment loans can cover things like extraction lines, packaging and bottling equipment and laboratory equipment.

Unsecured Business Loans

For purposes not included in these categories, an unsecured business loan can be used for any business purpose.

Working Capital Financing

Intended to act as a stopgap in short-term cash flow fluctuations, working capital financing can benefit any type of cannabis-related business, but generally isn’t available to startups.

Private Lending and Other Sources of Financing for Marijuana Businesses

Because of the need for cannabis-related funding, more private lenders specifically serve the cannabis industry with loan options specifically tailored for marijuana-related businesses (MRBs).

Is it Important to Find a Cannabis-Friendly Lender?

With MRBs being excluded from big banks and major credit card processing companies, financing can be complex. Using a lender that is cannabis-friendly allows you to avoid the red tape of an industry that’s already notoriously hard to break into. It's essential to find lenders that specifically focus on the cannabis industry and understand the varying types of loans that will be needed for your MRB.

Finding the Best Cannabis Business Lenders in New Jersey

The right cannabis lender doesn’t just have the money you need — it understands the sector and what someone stepping into it requires.

Type of Loan Options

When choosing a cannabis lender in New Jersey, the types of loans offered are just as important as how much is available. Loans such as real estate, leasebacks, equipment, unsecured business and working capital loans. 

Interest Rate

Interest rates for cannabis-related businesses can be as much as three times higher than their non-MRB counterparts. Most interest rates are generally 15% to 18 %, but lenders start as low as 8%. With all the associated fees that go into the creation and sale of cannabis products, having the lowest interest rate you can find is key.

Funding Speed

Because of the fees that go into starting an MRB, New Jersey’s expanding metropolitan economy and limited retail opportunities for cannabis businesses, funding speed is key. Expert cannabis lenders can offer working capital loans in as little as one week, and real estate based loans within 3-4 weeks.

Work with Cannabis Experts

Working with cannabis expert lenders that focus on the industry is important because they can structure your funding to meet your needs. Lenders with a proven track record will also protect you from making borrowing mistakes by taking an insightful look at your business. 

Proof of Successful Funding 

A key reason to use a cannabis-focused lender is to know that they have success in your specific secretary of the cannabis industry. Successful funding is the only way to keep ownership of your business without having to release equity.

Looking for a Cannabis Loan in New Jersey?

Seed to Sale has funded $85 Million in loans since its founding in 2019 in every sector of the cannabis industry. As one of the best cannabis business lenders in NJ, Seed to Sale has 100+ years of combined expertise, highly competitive rates and excellent terms. With a proven track record and breadth of insight into lending for cannabis products, Seed to Sale may be the right lender for your cannabis business.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is marijuana legal in New Jersey?


Yes. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2010 with recreational use being legalized in 2021.


Do financial institutions in New Jersey lend money to marijuana businesses?


Most banks are legally or corporately barred from lending to marijuana-related businesses (MBRs).


What are some common difficulties you face running a cannabis business?


One of the biggest difficulties running a cannabis business is the constraint that many financial institutions impose. Most marijuana-related businesses are cash only because VISA, Mastercard and many banks avoid the cannabis industry.