By Heady NJ Dan Ulloa | July 21, 2021
Cognitive Harmony Technologies (CHT) Accelerator has received a $100,000 donation from Pangaea Health and Wellness, LLC to assist five companies chosen for scholarships for NJ social equity cannabis license applicants.
Pangea hired Harvest 360 to help them. They are for five applicants to be able to use their service. NJ.com and the NJ Veterans Chamber of Commerce are picking the five. The application process is closed.
CHT Accelerator works across the country, providing templates, training guides, and vigorous coaching sessions developed by cannabis industry professionals to educate social equity cannabis license applicants on the nuances of the application process and general business operations.
“The cannabis license application process can be overwhelming, particularly for applicants that may have more limited resources than their well-established competitors,” Pangaea Health COO Larry Frascella said.
“As a New Jersey cannabis license appellant, this donation to CHT Accelerator is follow-through on our cannabis license supplemental submission commitment to provide free resources to educate minority, women, and disabled veteran cannabis license applicants,” he added
Frascella said that if Pangea wins a license, they will dedicate a 20,000 sq. ft. space to a cannabis business incubator and education center. It would provide free support to social equity businesses and microbusinesses, low-interest loans, a dispensary accelerator program, and employment opportunities.
Pangea is one of the companies that took the NJ Department of Health to court over issues with the 2018 medical cannabis application process and won, which means their application must be reconsidered.
CHT Accelerator is a joint venture by a team of cannabis business veterans who are software engineers and Harvest 360 Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of Blue Diamond Ventures Inc (OTC: BLDV). CHT Managing Partner David Serrano noted the Pangaea Health and Wellness provided $100,000 to assist social equity cannabis license applicants from communities most hurt by the War on Drugs.
They have developed and tested a fair mechanism to help applications customizable to applications for cannabis licenses in different states.
CHT Managing Partner Walter Moore developed the app to be intuitive to speed up the process for social equity license applicants ultimately.
He noted that when applying, “Many things are stacked against you.”
Moore said that their app costs less than a tenth of the cost normally incurred by applicants. It’s comparable to using Turbo Tax to pay taxes.
Without it, “There’s really no way you’re going to compete with the quality applications being put out by consulting firms that charge hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.
Harvest360 and CHT have a range of clients from big to small companies, Serrano noted. CHT Accelerator has won licenses for its clients in Virginia, Illinois, and Missouri.
NJ Social Equity Minded Ancillary Consultants
Harvest360 and CHT are very social equity-minded.
“There are people from communities like mine that want to get into this,” Serrano said about poor Hispanic and African American individuals seeking to enter the cannabis industry.
Feeling first-hand the effects of the War on Drugs has motivated Serrano to care deeply about social justice and social equity in the cannabis industry.
“I was institutionalized four times before the age of 14,” Serrano said regarding his experience with cannabis and the law.
“An injustice was done to my community, me in particular,” Serrano said regarding the War on Drugs.
“I got out through the military. It saved my ass,” he said.
“I too was arrested growing marijuana,” Moore said. “Not everyone is in the same positions to turn that around and bring this product to market.”
“The social equity component is very important to me and the partners at CHT,” he added.
Thus, CHT seeks to equalize the application process for NJ social equity applicants. They usually charge at least $50,000 to work on an application prior to creating the app. Serrano noted that putting together a successful cannabis application is labor-intensive, which leads to high costs.
The high cost to apply for a license is a major barrier to entry into the cannabis industry for many NJ social equity applicants.
“With this software, now we can bring it down to $15,000,” he said. “None of my competitors, I assure you, can do it so cheaply. I can guarantee that.”
Serrano noted the lack of significant investors helping NJ social equity and microbusinesses fund their ventures.
“We recognize it was out of reach for the community we want to support. We’ve made a lot of sacrifice for our company… to service this community,” he said.
They are focused on the educational component to help applicants learn about the process through courses for people and coaching sessions.
“Many people don’t even know what they need to know,” Moore said. “It all starts with education.”
“For years, we’ve been faced with this challenge and wanting to work with people,” Serrano said.
Serrano noted the issue they faced with offering free programing during COVID was they themselves had no way to continue to pay for the service they were providing.
For those without deep pockets, they give out free advice on the process Tuesdays at 6 pm.