Former college athletes open ‘first of its kind’ marijuana dispensary in New Brunswick

May 23, 2023 · Yahoo!News

Saturday marked another first for the New Jersey cannabis industry – the grand opening of the Garden State’s first standalone retail dispensary, Earth & Ivy, in New Brunswick.

Earth & Ivy is not a medical treatment center and can’t fulfill state Medicinal Cannabis Program orders from doctors, but medical marijuana patients will receive a discount.

Not only is the dispensary, located on George Street, the first of its kind, but it is also the youngest-owned dispensary in the country, with an average ownership age of 25, according to Earth & Ivy. It is also owned by the youngest Black woman to own a cannabis dispensary in the U.S., co-founder Sasha Stephens, the owners said.

The three co-founders and co-owners, Stephens and David Ryslik, both 26, and Anthony Lotti, 24, were all friends and student-athletes at the University of Pennsylvania. They experienced first-hand various sports injuries and their treatment with harsh pharmaceuticals, noting how badly the use of cannabis as a treatment was stigmatized in sports and society, they said.

“We started Earth & Ivy to disassociate the negative stigmas surrounding cannabis use and to bridge the gap between professionalism and cannabis culture,” Lotti said.

The company got its startup funding thanks to the generosity of the founders’ New Jersey friends and family, making it truly a local business.

“We wanted to work with people that value the people of New Jersey and wanted to benefit its citizens,” Lotti said.

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Alexander Lewis, MyCentralJersey.com

Sat, May 20, 2023 at 4:04 PM GMT+7·2 min read

Saturday marked another first for the New Jersey cannabis industry – the grand opening of the Garden State’s first standalone retail dispensary, Earth & Ivy, in New Brunswick.

Earth & Ivy is not a medical treatment center and can’t fulfill state Medicinal Cannabis Program orders from doctors, but medical marijuana patients will receive a discount.

Not only is the dispensary, located on George Street, the first of its kind, but it is also the youngest-owned dispensary in the country, with an average ownership age of 25, according to Earth & Ivy. It is also owned by the youngest Black woman to own a cannabis dispensary in the U.S., co-founder Sasha Stephens, the owners said.

The three co-founders and co-owners, Stephens and David Ryslik, both 26, and Anthony Lotti, 24, were all friends and student-athletes at the University of Pennsylvania. They experienced first-hand various sports injuries and their treatment with harsh pharmaceuticals, noting how badly the use of cannabis as a treatment was stigmatized in sports and society, they said.

Earth & Ivy, New Jersey's first standalone retail-only marijuana dispensary, opens May 20 in New Brunswick.
Earth & Ivy, New Jersey’s first standalone retail-only marijuana dispensary, opens May 20 in New Brunswick.

“We started Earth & Ivy to disassociate the negative stigmas surrounding cannabis use and to bridge the gap between professionalism and cannabis culture,” Lotti said.

The company got its startup funding thanks to the generosity of the founders’ New Jersey friends and family, making it truly a local business.

“We wanted to work with people that value the people of New Jersey and wanted to benefit its citizens,” Lotti said.

More: Readington renews marijuana license of cultivator at old Walmart – with stipulation

Lotti and Ryslik were both born at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick and grew up and still live in Freehold. Stephens, originally from California, where she worked at a Dr. Green Thumb dispensary, now lives in North Brunswick.

“We hope that people see us and are inspired to take a risk and do something outside the norm,” Lotti said.

Earth & Ivy will be offering an “Ivy Insider” loyalty program for frequent shoppers, and it will be selling flowers, pre-rolls, cartridges, edibles, tinctures, topicals as well as CBD-related products with prices depending on the quantity and potency.

“David, Sasha, and I all wanted to do something different and enter a newly emerging industry,” Lotti said. “Hopefully, somebody can see us and take the same leap of faith that we did.”

Earth & Ivy is at 355 George St. in New Brunswick and can be reached at 732-317-2992. (Full Story)

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