New York’s Second Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary Expected to Open Jan. 24

New York’s second adult-use cannabis dispensary is expected to open next week, the governor’s office announced Jan. 19.

Smacked LLC, owned and operated by Roland Conner, an entrepreneur previously criminalized by cannabis prohibition, will open Jan. 24 in Manhattan.

The store will join Housing Works Cannabis Co. as one of two operating licensed adult-use cannabis retailers in New York.

RELATED: Inside Housing Works Cannabis Co.’s Journey to Launching New York’s First Adult-Use Sales: The Starting Line

The state’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved the first 36 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses in November; Housing Works was one of eight nonprofit organizations awarded a license, while Conner was one of 28 qualifying individuals that received a license.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a “Seeding Opportunity Initiative” in March 2022 to prioritize those most impacted by the war on drugs in the adult-use cannabis licensing process. Part of the plan called for issuing the first CAURD licenses to those with cannabis-related convictions.

“This dispensary is the latest example of our efforts to build the most equitable and inclusive cannabis industry in the nation,” Hochul said in a public statement. “As we continue to work toward righting wrongs of the past, I look forward to new dispensaries—owned by those most impacted by the over policing of cannabis prohibition—opening soon.”

Regulators will ultimately issue up to 175 total CAURD licenses to as many as 150 individuals and 25 nonprofit organizations.

Smacked will celebrate a soft opening next week through Feb. 20, operating as a pop-up in the shorter term until the business can undergo final construction and re-open in a more permanent location.

“Dispensaries with ownership like this one exemplify our commitment to building a nation-leading model for establishing an equitable cannabis industry that works to offset the harms caused by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition,” CCB Chair Tremaine Wright said in a public statement. “We couldn’t have reached today without the steadfast support of Gov. Hochul and the Legislature and I’m excited to see the industry continuing to advance and grow in line with the goals of our state’s cannabis law.”

Before receiving his CAURD license, Conner owned and operated property management businesses in New York City for 15 years. He currently manages a transitional housing facility in the Bronx that provides shelter for roughly two dozen men.

“I am so excited to become a part of history as the first individual to open a legal cannabis dispensary in New York City,” Conner said in a public statement. “Given my experience with cannabis, I never could have imagined that I would be opening a store like this. I’m grateful for the opportunity to open a business with my son and wife at my side and build generational wealth, working together, right here in New York.

“But this is not just about me and my family,” Conner continued. “This is about everyone who was harmed by the draconian drug laws of the past. New York’s commitment to righting those wrongs through the law is inspiring. I am proof of that commitment because I’m standing here today.”

[Original Source]