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New York City’s First Cannabis Dispensary Is Here

New York City’s first legal weed store will open in Lower Manhattan on Dec. 29, just days before the state’s end-of-year deadline to launch regulated, taxed cannabis sales.

A 4K SF retail space at 1 Astor Place, formerly home to a Gap, will open as New York City's first legalized cannabis dispensary on Dec. 29.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that Housing Works Cannabis Co. will open a 4K SF dispensary at 1 Astor Place, Crain’s New York Business first reported.

Housing Works Cannabis Co. was one of the first recipients of a dispensary license in NYC and is part of Housing Works, a nonprofit that provides services and advocacy for people experiencing homelessness and individuals with HIV or AIDS.

“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 told Crain’s in a statement.

Sales proceeds will go to the nonprofit, and Housing Works plans to hire its clients to work in the Astor Place location, which its CEO Charles King called a pop-up store in an interview with CityLimits last month.

“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 Co. store manager Sasha Nutgent told Crain’s.

The state’s Cannabis Control Board handed out its first batch of licenses last month, giving 28 to companies owned by individuals with past cannabis convictions or their family members and eight licenses to nonprofits, Gothamist reported at the time. 

New York passed legalized recreational cannabis sales in 2021, but the rollout of retail licenses has been slow. The Office of Cannabis Management told Bisnow in July this year that it planned to distribute the first batch of licenses within 90 days, but didn’t do so until late November.

The state has spent months crafting policies and regulations to center racial and social equity in its retail policies since the 2019 decriminalization of cannabis. But in that time, hundreds of unlicensed cannabis stores have appeared throughout the five boroughs as regulators tweaked policy, resulting in an illicit sales market worth approximately $2B, according to Crain’s.