By Adam Jackson
A second New York dispensary is set to open in Manhattan more than two weeks after the state saw its first legal adult-use sale. The “Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store,” will be located at the former home of an old Chase bank on the corner of Broadway and East 13th Street, across from the Union Square subway station.
The store plans to open in February, but had a soft opening on Friday at another facility (with an entrance at 62 East 13th St.) while the main 5,000-square-foot space is being built out.
Of the proceeds, 51% will go to the Doe Fund, which provides housing, career training and counseling to marginalized populations in New York City. Additionally, the store will only sell products cultivated in the state with a focus on women and BIPOC-owned businesses.
The dispensary will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends, seven days a week.
The first legal adult-use dispensary opened Dec. 28 at a former Gap retail store in lower Manhattan near Astor Place. The historic opening marked a long-awaited launch of a state marijuana market that many analysts project could become one of the country’s most promising.
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Despite the proliferation of numerous illegal shops throughout the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Dec. 21 that Housing Works, a minority-controlled nonprofit that focuses on helping those with HIV and AIDS, would be the first of 36 recently licensed dispensaries to begin selling cannabis to the general public. Housing Works has been known for running a small chain of charitable retail outlets.
The state is expected to issue an additional 139 licenses in the coming months for about 900 applicants. The state reserved its first round of retail licenses for applicants with marijuana convictions or their relatives, plus some nonprofit groups.
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It also planned a $200 million public-private fund to aid social equity applicants with real estate, though its status and how much progress has been made is not exactly clear. Industry stakeholders told Green Market Report in November that there’s been little news on how much progress has been made by fund managers in actually raising capital or getting state monies deposited, so that actual retail spaces can be leased for social equity cannabis companies.
The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York then missed its Dec. 30 deadline to report to the governor, the legislature and the public on its status and details about the social equity program and its relationship with the firm it selected as a fund manager. A DASNY spokesperson told NY Cannabis Insider last week that the agency “will have the report out soon.”
The New York Office of Cannabis Management also extended the license application window for marijuana testing labs to March 31 from its originally scheduled closure of New Year’s Eve.
Chris Alexander, the executive director of the OCM, told the Cannabis Control Board at a public meeting in December that adding that the state is still looking for top-notch lab candidates. “That is a cornerstone of the market that we’re building,” he said.
Alexander also said that the state is rolling out more resources to support the legal marijuana market and to suppress the thriving illicit trade, including:
- A public education campaign called “Why Buy Legal New York.”
- A new verification emblem to be displayed by licensed retailers.
- Ongoing enforcement against unlicensed retailers, including the seizure of more than $4 million in illegal cannabis products from 53 locations by the New York City Sheriff’s joint task force.
This article originally appeared on Green Market Report and has been reposted with permission.