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Stockton student helps Shamong vie for cannabis business

Jenna Misciascio dreams of opening a ‘bud and breakfast’

Michael Di Croce and Jenna Misciascio (Michael Di Croce/Special to The Sun).

When Jenna Misciascio heard she could win $250 for making a short video, she jumped at the chance.

Misciascio is a recent graduate of Stockton, where she minored in cannabis studies. She used her knowledge of the industry to make a promotional video highlighting Shamong’s efforts to become a cannabis hub and won a contest created by Deputy Mayor Michael DiCroce.

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“I wanted to find a way that we could involve local college students in promoting Shamong Township as a business friendly place,” Di Croce said. “I think Jenna’s a very talented young lady. She’s really knowledgeable about the cannabis industry and I think I’m gonna learn a lot from her.”

Misciascio’s minute-long video takes viewers through Shamong’s incentives for businesses to put down (cannabis) roots in the township. It cites the township’s  ample farm land and business resources.

“Shamong is going to be ideal for growers,” Misciascio noted. “I don’t think it’s going to take much for them to get there.”

Di Croce said the township has all the building blocks in place to welcome  cannabis agriculture. He has had more than 10 meetings with potential growers, but has not yet received any applications.

“We’re ready to go,” he said. 

The township must wait for New Jersey to pass regulations regarding cannabis that Di Croce expects in August. He believes that if cannabis comes to Shamong, it will create new jobs and help lower property taxes.

“I want to present as many opportunities to our farmers and neighbors and business people as we can,” Di Croce explained, adding that he has a goal of creating 100 jobs. 

Misciascio said she thinks the legalization of recreational marijuana will have a large economic impact and help drive people to less-traveled areas like Shamong.

“I think it’s going to revitalize certain areas, and it’s going to produce us more tourism money,” she said.

Misciascio, who majored in hospitality, said townships like Shamong are giving her opportunities to work her dream job. She wants to open a “bud and breakfast” or smoke lounge that creates a good ambience for enjoying cannabis products.

“I dreamed of a more fun atmosphere, not a medical dispensary,” she said. “You go to a bar for the low lighting and someone serving you, versus everyone sitting in your living room. It’s exciting because I saw my career door open up immensely.”

Stockton is one of the first public universities to have a cannabis program.

“I’ve been interested in this since high school, but I never saw it as something I could pursue educationally,” she explained. 

She took classes on cannabis cultivation, law and medical marijuana with industry professionals. She currently interns at Bootleg Avocado, a business focused on the intersection between food and cannabis. 

“I thought if I stayed in New Jersey, I could only do a medical dispensary or work for some advocacy program,” she said. “But now, we’re getting one step closer to the intersection of hospitality and cannabis.”

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