The first legal dispensary for recreational marijuana in New York rung up its first sales on Thursday, opening up what is expected to be one of the country’s most lucrative markets for cannabis — underscored by the dozens of unauthorized shops that have operated in the open for years.
The widely anticipated opening of the first state-sanctioned dispensary, which is operated by the nonprofit Housing Works, paves the way for a string of openings expected in the coming months in New York. The state legalized recreational marijuana use in March 2021.
“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 social-service agency that serves people with HIV and AIDS, as well as those who are homeless and formerly incarcerated.
The lower Manhattan store is the first of 36 recently licensed dispensaries to open, with an additional 139 licenses yet to be issued by the state Office of Cannabis Management and 900 applicants still awaiting word. Among the first round of licensees were eight nonprofits that included Housing Works.
The cannabis storefront abuts the sprawling urban campus of New York University.
“This location is a perfect location. We’re between the West Village, the East Village,” King said at a news conference Thursday morning. “Tourists can come by here easily. So we think we’re going…
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