The launch of what is anticipated to be one of the most lucrative cannabis markets in the nation on Thursday marked the opening of the first legal recreational marijuana dispensary in New York, supported by the dozens of illegal businesses operating openly for years.
The much-anticipated inauguration of the first state-approved dispensary, run by the nonprofit organization Housing Works, prepares the stage for a flurry of more openings anticipated in New York in the upcoming months.
In March 2021, the state approved marijuana use for recreational purposes.
Charles King, CEO of Housing Works, a minority-controlled social-service organization that assists people with HIV and AIDS and those who are homeless and formerly incarcerated, said, “We’re thrilled to be the first and hopefully setting a model that other people will have to follow.”
The lower Manhattan shop is the first of 36 recently permitted dispensaries to open; the state Office of Cannabis Management still has to grant 139 more licenses, and 900 applications are waiting to hear back.
Eight non-profit organizations, including Housing Works, were included in the initial round of licensees.
The enormous metropolitan campus of New York University is next to the cannabis shop.
“This place is the ideal place. At a news conference held on Thursday morning, King declared, “We’re between the West Village and the East Village. “Tourists can readily access this location. We, therefore, anticipate that we will generate a lot of sales here.
Chris Alexander, the new executive director of the state cannabis office, made the first purchase in front of a wall of cameras: a tin of marijuana flowers and watermelon-flavored sweets.
According to Alexander, a lot of work has to be done to bring us to this position. “We need to open many more stores and do a lot more work.”
Officials from Housing Works reported that more than 2,000 reservations to make purchases had already been made at the dispensary.
In the United States, New York joined almost two dozen other states in legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
In contrast to many other states, New York has reserved its initial wave of retail licenses for organizations, applicants with marijuana convictions, and their relatives to recognize the injustices brought about by the nation’s drug war.
Additionally, a $200 million public-private fund was proposed to support candidates that fit the description of “social equity.”
The effects of the war on drugs, particularly on drug users—particularly the poorest and most disadvantaged people—have been witnessed directly, according to King.
King claimed that his foundation employs people arrested for marijuana-related offenses.
To “have the chance to mitigate some of the terrible circumstances inherent in the criminalization of cannabis and other narcotics,” Housing Works pursued obtaining a license, according to him.
Mayor of New York City Eric Adams said in a statement that “today marks a key milestone in our efforts to develop the fairest cannabis business in the nation.”
“The launching of the first legal dispensary in our state here in New York City is more than simply a promising milestone for this burgeoning industry – it marks a new chapter for those most impacted by the failed policies of the past,” says the author.
Governor Kathy Hochul hailed the first legal sale of cannabis for adult use as “a historic milestone in New York’s cannabis sector.”
Cannabis sales in New York State has a nice ring to it! 🍃
Come through to 750 Broadway at 4:20. We’re blazing our trail to equity! pic.twitter.com/2eA6uQZJHz
— NYS Office of Cannabis Management (@nys_cannabis) December 29, 2022