New Jersery entrepreneur Matha Figaro is breaking ground in the cannabis industry.
The business was inspired while Figaro was selling traditional butter cakes and sauces at a farmers markets in Jersey City. A customer requested that she consider adding cannabis as an ingredient for medicinal use as it would be helpful for his mother who was having chemotherapy.
“The original ask was from a woman that was getting ready to go through chemo,” Figaro recalled to Audacy. “She was like, ‘I love your cake, but at this point, I need medicine more. And instead of doing the two, can you combine it for me?'”
She added, “I never stopped after that. I realized how much I can help.”
View this post on Instagram
The New York Times reports cannabis was legalized by New Jersey’s state legislature for individuals over 21 in 2021. Prior to that time, state voters had green lit a direct vote to legalize marijuana in November 2020.
Challenges To Obtain License
Figaro had applied for a state license soon after marijuana became legal in the state. She waited more than a year for approval and had to temporarily halt the sale of her products.
“…My team and I took significant losses because the licensing process took way too long,” she told NJBiz. “Because I had to shut down my legacy business, I couldn’t pay them any longer, so a lot of them had to scramble and figure out how they were going to pay their rent. Two of us literally had to move to an entirely new state to get this up and running. We had to move to Delaware to generate revenue [as a manufacturer] to be able to sustain getting a license in New Jersey so we could make $20,000 to pay for the license in New Jersey.”
She continued, “For me to have been able to generate one penny in New Jersey, it’s taken over 604 days. But I have put in hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state of New Jersey just to get a license…The licensing process was miserable and unbearable.”
Fortunately, Figaro would receive assistance from The Cannabist Co. to sell her products in Delaware in the meantime.
“Our philosophy is … a rising tide raises all ships,” Volley Hayhurst Jr., vice president of regional operations at The Cannabist Co., said, per Audacy. “We love to open up the doors and allow these new licenses to come in, ask questions, share best practices, share our startup issues that we had, and be able to use us as a resource that’s been in the market for a long time.”
The Cannabist Co. was also helpful in providing funding and lawyers to Figaro to ensure she reached her goal post of obtaining licensing. Additionally, the company provided her with raw materials and access to a kitchen.
“I get support in every single possible way,” Figaro expressed to Audacy. “If I have questions … they have every answer.”
Products On The Way Across The State
Figaro is now poised to bring ButACake to New Jersey. According to NJBiz, by the end of December 2023, multiple independently owned and operated dispensaries will be offering ButACake’s first edible — oral dissolvable strips. Locations include Holistic Solutions in Atco, Noire Dispensary in Maplewood, Queen City in Plainfield, Molly Ann Farms in Haledon, Valley Wellness in Raritan, A21 Dispensary in Scotch Plains, Kind Kush in Rockaway, and Urb’n in Newark.
The outlet also notes she will become the first independent operator and Black woman to open a legal edibles brand in New Jersey.
“We’re checking off a lot of firsts with this,” she said.