On Thursday morning New York finally began its first legal adult-use marijuana sales with the opening of Housing Works Dispensary. The inaugural purchase was made by the state’s top cannabis regulator. Following the initial purchase, broader sales were then made available to the general public later in the afternoon at the symbolic time of 4:20 PM.
The Manhattan-based storefront run by the nonprofit organization Housing Works, which focuses on addressing AIDS and homelessness issues, is now open to adults 21 and up to make legal cannabis purchases.
The governor and regulators confirmed the location and open date last week, touting the administration’s fulfilled promise to launch the recreational market this year.
And we’ll open for business at 4:20! https://t.co/c8adqOe2qr
— Housing Works (@housingworks) December 28, 2022
This development comes after CCB approved a total of 36 organizations for Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary License (CAURD), last month. Housing Works’s first sale on Thursday was to Chris Alexander, the executive director of the New York Office of Cannabis Management.
Questions are already being raised about potential federal ramifications related to having non-profits sell adult-use cannabis, with at least one lawyer arguing in a recent op-ed that it could jeopardize their federal 501(c)(3) status that makes them tax-exempt.
The milestone marks a major one for New York with New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) saying that “the opening of the first legal dispensary in our state right here in New York City is more than just a promising step for this budding industry—it represents a new chapter for those most harmed by the failed policies of the past.”
“The legal cannabis market has the potential to be a major boon to New York’s economic recovery—creating new jobs, building wealth in historically underserved communities, and increasing state and local tax revenue,” he said. “At the same time, we will continue our efforts to educate unlicensed operators about the law and hold bad actors accountable.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) also talked about the milestone, saying in a press release.“The first legal adult-use cannabis sales mark a historic milestone in New York’s cannabis industry. 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.”
In Connecticut, the state’s first adult-use shops are expected to open next month, officials recently announced, and Rhode Island’s first recreational cannabis sales started at the beginning of December.
This moment is an example of the efficiency that can take place when officials are trying to meet a promise. With only two months left in the year, New York Officials were able to approve 36 conditional licenses, and ensure the first dispensary would open just to meet their promise of having the recreational market launch in 2022. If such a feat can take place, it is frustrating when such a deadline is not there, and other developments take months or even years. Scarlet Reserve hopes to see some more efficiency in the new year by New Jersey officials and their slowness in allowing small businesses to enter the cannabis market.