Photo: GETTY
  /  12.30.2022

It’s a joyous occasion for lovers of cannabis in New York. For the first time, weed smokers can legally indulge in purchasing the green as the Big Apple has debuted a recreational marijuana dispensary.

Yesterday (Dec. 29), Housing Works Cannabis Company, located on Broadway and Eighth Street in Manhattan, officially opened its doors to customers over 21. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be the first and hopefully setting a model that other folks will have to follow,” said Charles King, the chief executive officer of Housing Works, a minority-controlled nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the homeless and assisting people living with HIV/AIDS.

While the ceremonial grand opening took place at 4:20 p.m., according to ABC News channel 7, the first sale came hours prior.

After a Thursday morning press conference where they announced the store’s opening, Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander became the company’s first customer when he bought watermelon-flavored gummies and a tin of marijuana flowers. The purchase happened at 11:45 a.m.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be here today, as we said we would earlier this year, to make history with the first-ever legal retail sale of cannabis in New York State,” said Alexander. “This is a significant part of the battle to end cannabis prohibition that we can say has finally been won. Thank you Governor Hochul for your unwavering support in bringing the vision of New York’s cannabis law to life and thank you to all our farmers and CAURD licensees for believing in that vision and working with our agency to build what will be the most equitable cannabis market in the nation.”

The dispensary will sell products ranging from $20 edible containers to flowers or plants between $40-$95. Marijuana vape kits will also be available for $95. Housing Works said the money will go toward a good cause. “All proceeds from purchases go back to fund our services and advocacy, which include housing, health care and people living with HIV and chronic illness,” Housing Works Creative Director Elizabeth Koke told NBC New York. “So many communities have suffered under cannabis criminalization,” she added.

Housing Works Cannabis Company might be the first to break through the legal cannabis distribution trade in New York, but it’s certainly not the last. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Dec. 21 that the Empire State will have 35 more licensed dispensaries legally opening soon.

“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,” the governor explained.

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