GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) — New York state’s second legal marijuana store is holding a ceremonial first sale on Monday before opening to the public on Tuesday.
The store on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village is called Smacked.
It is the first legal dispensary to open in New York State owned by a person with a prior marijuana conviction.
Roland Conner previously served time on marijuana charges. Now he is turning this injustice into a business plan.
New York prefers to issue dispensary licenses to people with past marijuana convictions.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out and saying that I’m celebrating this,” Conner said at Monday morning’s kickoff meeting. “I am very proud of everything, for all the support. You know, it’s a process. New York is doing something amazing.”
Earlier this month household goods store was the first to open a licensed dispensary in New York State.
It’s also in Greenwich Village, about a 10-minute walk from Smacked.
A spokesman for the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority says the agency is set to open about 36 more stores in the coming weeks.
The sites are strategic, located away from schools and not too close to each other.
The product in the stores comes from regulated farms and has been tested in government laboratories.
There are now about 1,400 illegal weed shops across the city.
Businesses take advantage of what appears to be a lack of consequences for selling without a license.
The subject was the problem New York City Council Joint Committee Oversight Hearing last week.
Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter asked the Cannabis Regulatory Authority’s senior policy director about the problem with the Up Close program.
“The way we operate the dispensaries, there will be a buffer between each one,” Alex Bernabe said. “So you’re not going to get what you have here with five or six of them lined up on one street. They’re all going to be separated, you can’t see through the windows. You’re going to take security measures, they’re going to give cards to everybody and you lose your license if you sell to someone under 21.”
“So what we’re seeing now is a transition period between people abusing the system as we work to shut them down and new dispensaries coming online,” Bernabe continued.
The fact is that it was very difficult to close illegal shops.
The sheriff’s office would raid the store and they would be restocked the next day.
What you need to know before buying legal weed in New York
Despite that recreational weed was legalized in the state back in 2021, legal sales are still not allowed. Illegal sellers have been operating for many months across the city and country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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