Recreational Dispensaries are Opening in NYC!

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Recreational dispensaries are finally opening in New York! Although the process is not moving as swiftly as it did in other parts of the United States, it’s moving forward in the Empire State. New York City dispensaries that are open now each hold a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) License, which was awarded to businesses owned by justice-involved New Yorkers and close family members, setting a foundation for an equitable industry. Several purchasing options exist throughout the region; However, the most concise geographical dispensaries are located in the city. 

So, are there dispensaries in NYC? Yes! Here is what you need to know before booking a weed vacation here.

Equity is an Integral Part of NYC’s Cannabis Market

Nonprofit organizations are a big part of the emergent market. Earlier this month, Governor Hochul said, “We’re building a cannabis industry here in New York State that is equitable and delivers new resources to nonprofits that bring supportive services to our communities. This [third dispensary to open] is the latest milestone in our efforts to grow the industry while creating jobs and opportunity for those who, historically, have been disproportionately targeted for cannabis infractions.” Further, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, “As the cannabis industry expands in New York, it’s imperative to support CAURD licensees…that center equity and invest in the communities most harmed by marijuana legalization. Manhattan is thrilled to welcome a dispensary whose proceeds fund supportive services for justice-involved New Yorkers experiencing poverty and homelessness.”

Indirect efforts to support legal weed dispensaries in NYC include pushing out illegal cannabis operations, however, New York cannabis law as written “does not provide an enforcement mechanism when an unlicensed establishment displays cannabis for sale. The law only provides an enforcement mechanism if an actual sale is observed,” according to the NYPD. Mayor Eric Adams has directed unlicensed weed dispensaries to be shut down, and pushes for the penalization of landlords who own the buildings housing them. Ultimately, however, the demand for cannabis cannot be met by only three legal NYC dispensaries. The city has an estimated 1,400 illicit smoke shops.

How to Support Legal NYC Dispensaries

Legal NYC recreational dispensaries need your support! Here are some tips to follow when visiting one.

  1.       Bring a valid, government-issued photo ID for proof of age and residency.
  2.       Research the dispensary ahead of visiting.
  3.       Cash is the only payment method accepted, so come prepared with cash.
  4.       Stay off your phone. No talking, pictures, or videos.
  5.       Have an idea of the kind of experience you want in order to guide your bud tenders.
  6.       Remember, all sales are final, so be sure you are happy with your product before buying.

As of writing, these are the three NYC recreational dispensaries open. 28 cannabis dispensary licenses were granted to business owners, with preference given to people who had previously been incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses, while eight other licenses went to nonprofit organizations.

  • Housing Works Cannabis. 750 Broadway, Manhattan. Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. All the proceeds from this store go to Housing Works’ efforts to help people with a history of substance abuse or those who have been homeless or arrested for weed possession.
  • Smacked. 144 Bleecker St., Manhattan. Open: 
    • Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Monday-Wednesday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m
    • Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. 
    • Friday 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. 
    • Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. 

This is New York City’s first cannabis shop run by someone with a past marijuana conviction.

  • Union Square Travel Agency. 62 East 13th St., Manhattan. Open Sunday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. This dispensary is run by a subsidiary of the nonprofit The Doe Fund, which works to help people struggling with poverty, homelessness and incarceration.

Outside of New York City, the Just Breathe dispensary opened its doors and soon received a visit from the governor, although she did not make a purchase. In official statements, Gov. Kathy Hochul has admitted to being new to cannabis. “Despite going to school in the ’70s, it’s nothing I ever partook in,” Hochul told WAMC podcast host Alan Chartock, “But I’m not done living yet. So you never know.”

Explore the Cannabis Industry at CannaCon

It’s a little way away from the new weed dispensaries in NYC, but in Oklahoma, recreational legalization is a hotly simmering pot. Attend CannaCon there March 31-April 1 at the OKC Convention Center, located at 100 Mick Cornett Drive, Oklahoma City to get a real feel for what’s new, what’s innovative and what’s about to change in the Boomer State forever.

CannaCon is a unique experience for those seeking connections in cultivation, innovation, education, business and legal advice, retail insights, extraction technology, scientific and financial trends, marketing, branding and so much more. Get your tickets today!

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