Already home to the Empire State’s first and only legal recreational cannabis dispensary, New York City will soon make way for a second.
Gothamist reports that a new pot dispensary called “Smacked” will open this month in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village after a local community board “voted unanimously” last Wednesday to endorse the store.
The dispensary “is set for a ‘soft launch’ to members of the press on Wednesday, Jan. 18, and will open to the general public later in the week,” according to Gothamist.
Regulators in New York approved 36 licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries in November.
Those first three dozen licenses were issued under the state’s “Seeding Opportunity Initiative,” which ensures that “New York’s first legal adult-use retail dispensaries will be operated by those most impacted by the enforcement of the prohibition of cannabis or nonprofit organizations whose services include support for the formerly incarcerated.”
Unveiled last year, the initiative designates the first adult-use cannabis retail licenses for individuals with a prior cannabis conviction, or a family member of an individual with such a conviction.
But despite the approval for those license holders, there is currently only one state-sanctioned recreational cannabis retailer open in New York.
That store, located in Manhattan’s East Village and owned by Housing Works, a nonprofit that provides services to individuals living with HIV and AIDS, opened on December 29.
“The first legal adult-use cannabis sales mark a historic milestone in New York’s cannabis industry,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement on the day of the opening. “Today is only the beginning, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to solidify New York as a national model for the safe, equitable and inclusive industry we are now building.”
Cannabis Control Board Chairwoman Tremaine Wright, chairwoman of the state’s Cannabis Control Board, said that the opening of the Housing Works-owned shop was “truly a historic day in the history of New York State.”
“For years we fought to make sure New York not only legalized cannabis but did so in a way that ensures this cannabis market is driven and led by social equity. I am proud to say, with non-profit Housing Works making today’s first cannabis retail sale, we are well on our way to achieve that goal and fulfill our commitment to all New Yorkers. I cannot thank Governor Kathy Hochul, the rest of the Cannabis Control Board, or the staff of the Office of Cannabis Management enough for their ongoing work to achieve these goals,” Wright said in a statement at the time.
The opening of the store ensured that Hochul, a Democrat, made good on her pledge to get the adult-use cannabis market up and running before the end of 2022 –– although the state fell well short of her target number.
“We expect the first 20 dispensaries to be open by the end of this year,” Hochul said in October. “And then every month or so, another 20. So, we’re not going to just jam it out there. It’s going to work and be successful.”
Among the 36 licenses awarded by the state, 13 were awarded to businesses based across New York City’s five boroughs: three in the Bronx, four in Queens, four in Manhattan and two in Staten Island.
Per NY1, there’s a temporary block on licenses awarded to businesses in Brooklyn due to a lawsuit filed by a company that is challenging the state’s requirement for applicants to have a marijuana-related offense in New York in order to be eligible for a license.