In a significant move to bring more diversity and community impact, Jersey City, New Jersey has recently launched its first service-disabled veteran and Latino-owned cannabis dispensary. It is a welcoming step that marks a significant occasion for the Garden State. Osbert Orduña, a first-generation Latino American and Iraq veteran has founded and is currently leading The Cannabis Place which opened its doors at 4:20 pm ET on November 8, 2023. 

In a press release, Orduña revealed that the symbolic timing of the grand opening was specifically chosen to align with the Marine Corps birthday and Veterans Day. He stated, “Opening Jersey City’s first service-disabled, veteran-owned business makes this week even more special to us and our team,” adding a personal touch to the inauguration of the establishment. 

The Cannabis Place is more than just a dispensary. It aspires to become a safe space for the community. The Cannabis Place has entered a valuable partnership with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360 to introduce the first-ever cannabis retail pre-apprenticeship training program in New Jersey. This initiative aims to empower local students. 

An estimated two dozen individuals are participating in a two-week course conducted by UFCW Local 360’s experts. After completion of this program, each participant was informed that they had embarked on a journey toward a “unionized cannabis dispensary career with The Cannabis Place.” This reflects the establishment’s commitment to community engagement and its proximity to a dedicated community impact room further reinforces its pledge to be more than just a business. 

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Emphasizing the dispensary’s role in community development, Osbert Orduña stated, “We are a partner with our local community.” He envisions The Cannabis Place to be a hub of ethical practices, a pro-union stance, and a dedication to boosting the prospects and prosperity of neighbors. Orduña expressed his desire to stand as an example by offering opportunities for union careers that were previously non-existent in the southern side of Jersey City. 

The ground-breaking move of Osbert Orduña has earned praise from Hugh Giordano, the director of organizing at UFCW Local 360. Giordano said, “No one has done this before.” emphasizing the visionary approach of The Cannabis Place and the way it is harnessing the expertise of UFCW Local 360 to train local talents who are often overlooked by traditional employment avenues. According to him, this model is scalable and repeatable and can offer value for employees, owners, and consumers alike. 

The personal journey and experiences of CEO Osbert Orduña add another layer to the narrative of The Cannabis Place. As a first-generation Latino American of Colombian descent, Orduña grew up in New York City public housing. He defied the odds to become the first in his family to attend college. During his deployment in Iraq, Orduña got the service-disabled veteran designation which further enriched his perspective on the licensed cannabis industry. 

His experience in the Marine Corps combined with his commitment to community and diversity, has fueled his desire to inspire other professionals to engage in the licensed cannabis sector. The Cannabis Place is a worthy investment in the transformative power of the workforce that is offering opportunities regardless of an individual’s background or skill level. Cannabis legalization is a rapidly evolving landscape where The Cannabis Place stands as a symbol of inclusivity and community-driven progress.