Improving patient access to quality medical cannabis
On behalf of the entire TerrAscend organization, I’d like to share our excitement about becoming part of your communities. We are committed to serving you and will work to earn your trust as we develop our operations. We know this will take time, but we believe that our values – which include a relentless focus on exceeding all standards and expectations for operational integrity, environmental sustainability, product quality, and patient service – will enable us to do so.
The medical cannabis industry is relatively new, and not yet universally understood or appreciated. We acknowledge that not everyone in the New Jersey towns in which we’ll operate think that our presence will be a good thing for their community. We hope that by engaging in transparent, fact-based dialogue and consistently demonstrating our values in our day-to-day actions, we will earn the trust of every member of our surrounding communities. We respect and welcome different points of view, and we encourage you to get to know us, too.
At TerrAscend, we are driven by the desire to “do well by doing good.” Our success depends on the positive impact we have on all our stakeholders: patients, communities, employees, and shareholders alike. If we do this, we all benefit.
Below you’ll find answers to many of the questions we’ve heard, and more information on our leaders, our company, and our New Jersey operations. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to us.
We look forward to getting to know you and to doing well by doing good in your communities.
We research, develop, cultivate and provide quality cannabis-based products, brands, and services for the medical and legal adult use markets across Canada and in several US states. We recently exported our medical cannabis products to Europe, as we’ve received the highest-level certification for our manufacturing facility in Mississauga, Ontario. Certification at this level is rare and difficult to achieve. In fact, we’re the first cannabis company in over a year to receive it. We’re especially proud of this certification, as it underscores our commitment to product quality and safety. You can learn more about our businesses, our leaders, and recent milestones on our website.
In February, we announced that we would acquire The Apothecarium, a retail dispensary brand that currently has four locations in California and Nevada. It’s considered by many to be in a class by itself when it comes to providing exceptional products and education for customers and patients. Our Phillipsburg dispensary will be the first Apothecarium on the East Coast and will have the same high quality design and exceptional service as the other Apothecarium locations. You can learn more here.
In New Jersey, our business that received a license to cultivate and sell medical cannabis was originally called NETA NJ LLC. We recently changed that name to TerrAscend NJ. That’s the name you’ll see on our communications going forward.
What is cannabis? Is it legal?
Cannabis is a plant that offers recognized medicinal benefits to people who are prescribed to use it. Its use for patients in New Jersey was legalized in 2012. Today, medical cannabis is legal in 33 US states and the District of Columbia.
There are currently over 45,000 registered patients in New Jersey’s medical cannabis program. This number is expected to rise to nearly 200,000 by 2022. Each of these individuals – including seniors, veterans, parents, and children – suffer from debilitating medical conditions. They have tried multiple pharmaceutical formulations – including opioids – without success. Medical cannabis is an alternative treatment option that may provide patients relief with fewer and less serious risks and side effects.
Currently, there are limited options for medical cannabis patients in Warren and Morris Counties. Patients must drive long distances to purchase their medicine. Our Phillipsburg dispensary will bring greater access to patients in surrounding communities.
New Jersey’s Department of Health permits cannabis to be prescribed by a licensed physician for the following conditions:
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease)
• Chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders
• Chronic pain of visceral origin
• Multiple sclerosis
• Opioid Use Disorder as an adjunct to Medication Assisted Therapy
• Terminal cancer
• Muscular dystrophy
• Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
• Terminal illness, if the physician has determined a prognosis of less than 12 months of life
• Tourette’s Syndrome
The following conditions apply, if resistant to, or if the patient is intolerant to, conventional therapy:
• Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
• Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The following conditions apply, if severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia or wasting syndrome results from the condition or treatment thereof:
• Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
• Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
More information is available at nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana
I’ve heard concerns about the impact of a medical cannabis business in our community. Why would we want this in our towns?
First and foremost, it will create jobs. Our cultivation facility will add roughly 20-30 new jobs by the end of 2019 and 60-80 new jobs once we’re fully operational in 2020. These jobs include cultivation staff, regulatory compliance and quality assurance staff, scientists, engineers, managers, formulators, IT staff and security personnel. Our Phillipsburg dispensary will also add 20-30 full-time jobs including retail, sales and community outreach professionals. See below for more on what types of jobs will be created.
In Boonton Township, by continuing to use the site for agricultural purposes, the impact of the development on the environment and landscape will be essentially unchanged from that of the previously existing farm. The addition of 24/7 security will aid local police officials in deterring existing criminal activity in the area. See below for more on the specific security measures we will put into place.
We are concerned about whether the area around the cultivation facility will give off a strong odor. Does TerrAscend NJ have any plans to deal with this situation in a way that doesn’t have an impact on its neighbors?
TerrAscend has substantial cultivation experience and has addressed this challenge successfully already. Our Mississauga facility is in a busy urban neighborhood where we employ state of the art odor mitigation systems and we have not had any complaints about odor from the community.
At our Boonton Township facility, we are planning to utilize a state-of-the-art, multi-pronged approach to odor mitigation that includes growing in specialized modular containers (essentially rooms within rooms that contain the air around the plants), sealing of the greenhouse windows and entry way airlocks to contain odors within the cultivation and processing structures, and using a two-stage air filtration system including carbon filtration and a secondary natural odor neutralizing system. We are working with Byers Scientific, an industry leader in cannabis odor neutralization technologies. They have successfully implemented their solutions at numerous sites across the US and Canada. Here are some articles that explain how this system has been successful in Santa Barbara, California. It’s worth noting that these facilities meet the environmental standards of the State of California, which are the strictest in the nation.
Will having a cannabis cultivation facility or dispensary in our town affect our property values?
It’s unlikely. There is little reliable data on the impact of cultivation facilities or dispensaries on property values. According to a study completed by the National Association of Realtors in 2018, the majority of respondents in states where medical marijuana is legal had not seen a change in residential property values near dispensaries or of commercial property values near cannabis cultivation lands. See here for the full study: www.nar.realtor/reports/marijuana-and-real-estate-a-budding-issue
What about the impact on children in the community?
It will not be any different than any other type of agricultural facility or pharmacy. From the outside, it won’t be apparent what we’re growing or dispensing. See below for more about what we’re doing in terms of security, odor mitigation, and environmental impact.
Our facility in Boonton Township is an agricultural operation that is charged with producing cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions approved and licensed by the State of New Jersey. We are stringently monitored and inspected by the New Jersey Department of Health and cannot sell medical products at our cultivation facility in Boonton Township. New Jersey State law mandates that a medical cannabis cultivation site cannot be within 1,000 feet of a drug-free school zone. Our site is approximately 1.5 miles from the nearest drug-free school zone.
Our dispensary operation will be located in Phillipsburg NJ, approximately 55 miles from Boonton Township. Medical cannabis products will be transported there from the Boonton Township facility in secure vehicles as required by the state. The dispensary is located roughly two-thirds of a mile from the nearest school, which substantially exceeds the state requirements of a minimum of one thousand feet.
What about attracting criminal activities to our community?
There is no data whatsoever suggesting that criminal activity goes up around medical cannabis agricultural sites or dispensaries. Here are some articles that show that legalization of marijuana often leads to decreases in criminal activity:
What security measures are you taking?
We have 24/7 on-site security in place already and are installing a state-of-the-art security system that includes video monitoring throughout the property as well as lighting and other measures. At least 100 high-definition cameras will be installed in secure areas, including all limited access areas where cannabis products are present, all areas designated for the weighing of products, in all corridors that control staff movement throughout the facility, and at all points of entry and exit. Cameras utilizing infrared technology will be installed around the exterior perimeter of the facility. The main production areas will be enclosed with fencing and accessible only through electronic security access controls.
Our security measures will follow well-established protocols including the use of multiple levels of door alarm detection, glass-break detectors, interior motion sensing, seismic detectors, and RFID access control points. The system monitors all areas of the building openings (doors, windows, roof hatch, etc.). Interior motion detection will be used in high-security areas, entrance portals, corridors, and movement areas within the building. Ground level windows will be shaded, preventing visibility of marijuana products from outside the facility.
The highest security area, the storage vault where finished products are stored, will be secured using a two-step authentication process: an RFID card reader and a combination dial which requires a unique combination for each user authorized for entry. Access to combination numbers, passwords, and security system controls will be limited to a small number of specifically authorized personnel. All safes, vaults, and equipment and areas used for the production, cultivation, harvesting, processing or storage of cannabis products will be securely locked and protected from entry when not actively in use.
All employees will be required to undergo extensive background checks, including fingerprinting, administered by the New Jersey State Police. Upon successful completion of the background check, each employee will be issued a photo identification card by the NJ Department of Health that they must wear at all times while on site. In addition, employees will be required to abide by TerrAscend’s strict polices regarding alcohol and drug use. Violations will result in immediate termination.
Will your cultivation operation have a negative impact on our water supply and soil quality?
We only employ advanced environmentally sustainable growing practices and take all necessary safeguards to protect our land and the community. TerrAscend does not use pesticides in our cultivation. We will rely on our experience as cultivators in Canada to insure we operate as good members of the Boonton Township community.
Based on per-acre estimates, we do not anticipate using more water than the previous farming operation. We will be utilizing highly efficient drip irrigation systems and expect our total water usage will not exceed what has been traditionally used on this site.
Information provided by the Township and Boonton Water have indicated no historical record of flooding of the farm area. Even during and after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, the site did not flood.
What steps are you using to protect the community from the impact of your usage of lighting during the evening hours?
During evening hours, when supplemental grow lights are most often used in greenhouses, we will use blackout curtains on the tops of our greenhouses and insulated panels on the sides to shield the light from escaping.
Will the cultivation facility create traffic congestion?
We don’t anticipate any traffic issues tied to our operation. We are conducting a formal traffic survey and will share this data once it’s complete. We expect far fewer issues and less congestion than the Old Hamilton Farm as we will not be open to the public. Based on the previous commercial and retail operations of Hamilton Farms, the traffic volumes of our operation will be dramatically less.
What will the impact of the cultivation facility have on wildlife?
Given our above described efforts to minimize odor, light pollution, and environmental impact, we expect no negative impact to local wildlife. There may be some small benefit from the addition of 70 new pine trees around the perimeter of the property.
How can I get a job? What kind of jobs will be created?
We have received substantial interest for jobs at both our Boonton Township and Phillipsburg sites. At our cultivation facility, we’re already receiving multiple inquiries each week from local citizens interested in joining our team. In Boonton Township, we’ll employ 20-30 professionals by the end of 2019 and 60-80 by the time we’re fully operational in 2020. These jobs include cultivation staff, regulatory compliance and quality assurance staff, scientists, engineers, managers, formulators, IT staff, and security personnel. (By comparison, at peak season, Hamilton Farms employed about 35-40 people.) In Phillipsburg, our dispensary will employ 20-30 people full-time, in jobs including retail, sales and community outreach.
We will host job fairs in Boonton Township and Phillipsburg prior to the start of operations. We will share details as soon as we can. You can also submit your resume via the link in the contact form below.
How do I become a patient?
The New Jersey Department of Health offers information on how to find a participating physician, register as a patient, and find an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC). Please visit
Our Leadership Team
Matthew Johnson, a seasoned healthcare industry executive with over 25 years of experience, has held multiple senior-level positions with several large medical device and pharmaceutical companies. Most recently, he led the AbbVie Transition Office and was responsible for managing enterprise-wide transformation efforts, including merger integration. Prior to this, he headed Global Alliance Management within Abbott’s pharmaceuticals division where he drove collaboration strategy planning, alignment and communication among project teams for all of Abbott’s partnered pipeline products. He also held senior leadership roles at Brunswick Corporation and Baxter Healthcare Corporation.
Dr. Michael Nashat
Co-Founder, CEO & Director
TerrAscend’s co-founder and CEO, Dr. Michael Nashat, Pharm. D., has over 12 years of experience in patient care, quality assurance, medical and regulatory affairs and R&D. Prior to co-founding TerrAscend, Dr. Nashat cofounded and was the Executive Director of OnPharm Independent Pharmacy Group, the largest independent non banner group in Canada with over 500 pharmacies. Dr. Nashat is a former board member of the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, Ontario College of Pharmacists and the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy. Dr. Nashat is a former member of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s Pharmacy Council and the former Vice Chair of the Ontario Pharmacists Association’s Owners Advisory Council. Dr. Nashat is no stranger to New Jersey’s clinical research community, having completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroscience Medical Strategy with Bristol-Myers Squibb, and worked as an adjunct faculty member of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University.
Jason Wild is the President and Chief Investment Officer of JW Asset Management, LLC, and the advisor for five investment partnerships with approximately $1 billion in assets under management. Mr. Wild received his license as a pharmacist in 1997, and subsequently founded JW Asset Management, LLC in 1998. The firm has a strong history of finding opportunities within the healthcare sector. He is a graduate of the Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy. Mr. Wild is the Chairman of the Board of TerrAscend Corp. and Arbor Pharmaceuticals. He is a board member of Vensun Pharmaceuticals and Vitruvias Therapeutics. Funds managed by JW Asset Management, LLC are the largest shareholders in TerrAscend Corp. Mr. Wild is also a board member of NETA NJ LLC where he will be actively involved in planning and directing the organization’s strategic and long-range goals.
Patrizia “Trish” Zita is the owner of Kaufman Zita Group and a recognized woman leader in the capitol and the business community. She is the winner of Emerge New Jersey’s Bench Builder Award, which is given out to those who advance the organization’s goal of increasing women’s voice in public policy and decision-making at the local, state, and federal levels. In 2016, Executive Women of New Jersey honored Trish for her trailblazing work as one of New Jersey’s most influential and accomplished women leaders. Trish serves on the Rutgers Center for American Women in Politics, New Jersey Bipartisan Coalition for Women’s Appointments’ Advisory Committee. She founded the Kaufman Zita Group in 2007, where she is the firm’s managing business partner and provides front-line representation for several Fortune 500 companies, as well as non-profit organizations, healthcare and trade association clients. Trish is active in several organizations throughout the state, including serving on the Board of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, and CASA of Mercer and Burlington Counties, a non-profit organization that advocates for children removed from their families due to abuse or neglect.
Alex Havenick is a gambling and cannabis entrepreneur as well as an attorney. Alex is currently the Executive Vice President of Southwest Florida Enterprises, a privately held company based in Miami, Florida, where he heads operations for Magic City Casino. He was formerly the COO at the Casino at Dania Beach. Alex is an experienced investor in a broad spectrum of startup ventures and is also a very active member of the South Florida community where he is involved with the University of Miami, Sylvester Cancer Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Miami Children’s Hospital. He was an initial member of Surterra Florida, one of the initial 5 license holders for medical cannabis in the State of Florida. Alex was also an adjunct professor at The University of Miami. Alex received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Miami.
Director of Operations
Jerry is a 40-year veteran of UPS, where he worked his way up from the human resources department to the position of business manager. Jerry’s experiences at UPS include spearheading package delivery throughout New Jersey – where he created efficient routes to optimize drive times, assessed customer needs, and managed employees – and developing several projects to make package delivery more efficient and shorten routes.
Director of Community Relations
Jeannine LaRue has over 40 years of knowledge and experience in policy, governmental, and political positions throughout the state. She joined Kaufman Zita Group in 2011 after retiring from Rutgers University as Vice President of Public Affairs. Prior to joining the University’s administration, Jeannine served as Deputy Chief of Staff for former New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine where she oversaw the Office of Appointments, the Office of Constituency Services and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. From 1996-2006, Jeannine was Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Saint Barnabas Health Care System. Jeannine was appointed by Governor James J. Florio as the first African American full-time member to the Casino Control Commission. Jeannine convened the first ever Statewide Women’s Summit in 1992 and cares deeply about issues involving domestic violence, bullying and impacts to the LGBT community, having advocated and worked on legislation impacting all these groups. Jeannine has been honored by over 80 different community and non-profit organizations in her lifetime.