New York state will open its first legal cannabis dispensary on Thursday. The Office of Cannabis Management has been working to create an equitable industry surrounding the drug with the first retail licenses being given to nonprofits and companies owned by people affected by cannabis prohibition.
The first legal retailer, which will open its doors to public sale at a fitting time of 4:20 p.m., is located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village on 750 Broadway.
Housing Works Cannabis Company will be open until 7:10 p.m. on Thursday with regular hours of service from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily moving forward. Reservations to gain a spot in line at the first-of-its-kind store were sold out as of Thursday morning. The business currently has a full online site open to users 21 and older with menu options including flowers, edibles, extracts, tinctures, prerolls, and vape cartridges.
The location is owned by Housing Works, a nonprofit organization that was first founded in 1990 to address HIV/AIDs and homelessness. The organization supports formerly incarcerated New Yorkers and operates several business ventures including thrift shops and bookstores. Housing Works also provides a network of public services including COVID-19 testing, daycare, legal services, and substance abuse programs.
“Their decades of work with marginalized communities make them a perfect partner in the effort to ensure that New York’s Cannabis market provides meaningful opportunities to those most impacted by the failed cannabis criminalization policies of the past,” New York State Sen. Liz Krueger said of the development.
While marijuana was legalized in New York in 2021, legal sales had not started.
The New York State Cannabis Control Board has been working for the past year to create a legal retail environment, distributing Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries licenses to 36 additional retailers. The state is expected to issue 139 more in the coming months.
“The equitable and inclusive market will grow from here with support throughout to ensure licensees are able to overcome barriers and build this new industry,” Cannabis Control Board Chairwoman Tremaine Wright said of the sprouting industry,
Many of the first license holders are people who were formerly incarcerated due to marijuana possession. The state has been prioritizing these candidates when issuing licenses, with nonprofits needing at least one justice-involved board member to be eligible.
In March, Gov. Kathy Hochul also announced the licensing of 280 family farmers to grow the plant in New York as the legal market for cannabis continues to grow.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. That said, our nonprofit’s mission remains as urgent as ever. We are eager to take the lead as a social equity model for America’s cannabis industry, specifically with our hiring practices and continued support of individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by the unjust War on Drugs,” Housing Works Cannabis store manager Sasha Nutgent said in a press release.