PRESS RELEASE – Gov. Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of the third Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) location in Manhattan, N.Y. The opening of the store advances New York State’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative and the state’s goals of equity in cannabis licensing, which prioritizes providing licenses to justice-involved individuals who are people with a cannabis conviction or a close relative of someone with one, and nonprofits that serve justice-involved individuals.
“We’re building a cannabis industry here in New York State that is equitable and delivers new resources to nonprofits that bring supportive services to our communities,” Hochul said. “This is the latest milestone in our efforts to grow the industry, while creating jobs and opportunity for those who, historically, have been disproportionately targeted for cannabis infractions.”
The dispensary opening in Manhattan will operate under a license held by The Doe Store, a subsidiary of the Doe Fund, a nonprofit organization. It will be operated by Harbour Community. Located at 62 East 13th Street, the dispensary will be known as “Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store.” Since 1985, The Doe Fund has helped nearly 30,000 individuals break the devastating cycle of poverty, homelessness, and incarceration. Its Ready, Willing & Able program provides paid work, housing, and comprehensive support services to homeless and formerly incarcerated men in New York City. It will open at noon on Monday, Feb. 13. Initial operating hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Chair of the Cannabis Control Board, Tremaine Wright, said, “The opening of this third dispensary in Manhattan marks the latest milestone in the growth of New York State’s cannabis industry. These new locations will provide an opportunity for local businesses to continue to grow and build a vibrant market while capitalizing on the growing demand for safe, tested, quality cannabis products. The possibilities for our nascent market are endless.”
Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management, Chris Alexander, said, “We are thrilled to have yet another safe and reliable cannabis retailer available to the people of New York State and all who choose to partake. The opening of stores like this one protects the integrity of our hard work. It is an exciting time for cannabis users as they now have access to more safe and reliable products than ever before.”
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, “As the cannabis industry expands in New York, it’s imperative to support CAURD licensees like the Union Square Travel Agency that center equity and invest in the communities most harmed by marijuana legalization. Manhattan is thrilled to welcome a dispensary whose proceeds fund supportive services for justice-involved New Yorkers experiencing poverty and homelessness.”
President of Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store, Arana Hankin-Biggers, said, “We are excited to be implementing this innovative structure that was created by New York State, which allows not for profits to work with the private sector on ensuring the funds raised from this new industry will be redirected to populations that were most harmed by the prohibition of cannabis. We hope this structure will serve as a model that the rest of the country will want to emulate.”
Chief Executive Officer of Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store, Paul Yau said, “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has contributed to the opening of the Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store. From our amazing partners at The Doe Fund who had the courage and innovation to embrace this opportunity; to the OCM, New York State and New York City in paving the way for this new industry and their ongoing commitment in ensuring this legal industry will be a success; our amazing team members who have worked day and night to get us to this point; and our friends & family who have supported us in this endeavor from the beginning. We thank you all.”
Chair of Cannabis Licensing, Community Board 2 Manhattan, Mar Fitzgerald, said, “Community Board 2 is proud to be the leader of cannabis community engagement in New York City. Cannabis businesses enhance our neighborhoods by providing a unique service that increases retail diversity. We are happy to welcome our third dispensary, The Union Square Travel Agency, to the district.”
The CAURD license is a central pillar of the New York State Seeding Opportunity Initiative. Through the Initiative, 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 non-profit organizations whose services include support for the formerly incarcerated. These dispensaries are making legal adult-use sales with cannabis products grown by New York farmers.
To be eligible, applicants must either have a cannabis conviction themselves, or be the close family relative of someone who does, and own or have owned a business that had a net profit for at least two years. Non-profits are eligible for CAURD licenses if they have a history of serving current or formerly incarcerated individuals, including creating vocational opportunities for them; have at least one justice involved board member; at least five full time employees; and have operated a social enterprise that had net assets or profit for at least two years.