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New York’s first recreational pot shop opening next week


(The Center Square) – The first retailer in New York to sell marijuana for adult recreational use will open next week, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a release.

A dispensary in Manhattan operated by Housing Works, will be the first licensed dealer in the state. Housing Works is the country’s largest community-based HIV/AIDS service organization. It offers a litany of services for people with HIV or AIDS, as well as programs for the homeless and those coming out of jail.

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Proceeds from the dispensary on Broadway in Astor Place near NoHo, will fund the group’s services for the homeless, and those with HIV or AIDS.

When New York lawmakers legalized marijuana nearly two years ago, the state made it clear they wanted to be inclusive regarding who could sell the product.

In March of this year, Hochul announced the first batch of licenses for 280 family farms to grow marijuana, which would be sold in the licensed retail shops. The state will test the products for safety issues.

“We set a course just nine months ago to start New York’s adult-use cannabis market off on the right foot by prioritizing equity, and now, we’re fulfilling that goal,” Hochul said. “The industry will continue to grow from here, creating inclusive opportunity in every corner of New York State with revenues directed to our schools and revitalizing communities.”

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More stores will open. The New York State Cannabis Control Board has already given conditional approval for 36 recreational dispensaries. Of those, eight have been awarded to nonprofits, and the rest have been given to qualifying business owners.

Under New York law, the qualifying business owners either must have a previous conviction for a marijuana offense, or have a close family member who was convicted of a marijuana offense. The approved nonprofits need to have one “justice-involved” representative on the board, defined as someone previously convicted of a marijuana offense. The nonprofits also must work to provide job opportunities for people convicted of those offenses.

“I am excited for Housing Works and the other justice-involved individuals and nonprofits that will soon be opening their doors to the public for the purchase of safe and reliable cannabis products,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, said. “This initial completion of New York’s first home-grown cannabis supply chain is just the beginning of what is sure to become a thriving and equitable new industry.”

Sales will be restricted to adults 21 and older, per New York law. The state will also tax retail sales at 13%, with 9% of that going to the state, and 4% to local governments.

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