The governor of New York Kathy Hochul has announced that legal sales of recreational cannabis in New York will finally commence next Thursday, which will be on December 29th. The first recreational dispensary will be opening in the East Village in Manhattan. New York legalized cannabis for personal consumption on March 31st, 2021 and has since been putting measures in place for a regulated market.
The first adult-use dispensary will be operated by the largest minority group HIV/AIDS organization and will be serving customers in the East Village. The dispensary is located at 750 Broadway, Astor Place Building in the East Village. The proceeds from the dispensary will be channeled to Housing Works, the parent organization.
New York has centered its recreational cannabis program around social equity and improving the livelihoods of families that were unfairly targeted by the failed war on drugs/ marijuana prohibition. To this end, the state allocated 150 adult-use licenses to such groups under what is referred to as the Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program. Last month, the state issued the first batch of CAURD licenses to 36 equity applicants: 28 individuals and 8 non-profits.
Hochul is optimistic that the recreational program in NY will create inclusive opportunities to improve the economic livelihoods of the affected communities. “The industry will continue to grow from here, creating inclusive opportunities in every corner of New York State with revenues directed to our schools and revitalizing communities,” she said. In March this year, Hochul announced the launch of a Seeding Opportunity Initiative which should guide the rollout of the recreational market in New York. The first dispensary opening in NY before the close of 2022 is a milestone achievement for Hochul’s government.