Watch the Dollars Roll Right In: First Legal Cannabis Sales Begin in New York City
The first public sales of regulated cannabis in New York began on Thursday 29 December 2022 at a dispensary in Manhattan’s East Village at 4:20 p.m, hours after the first sale was made to a city official, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced.
CNN reports that on 29 December 2022 Housing Works Cannabis Company became the first licensed dispensary in New York City to open its location for business.
The dispensary is operated by Housing Works, a non-profit that services people living with HIV/AIDS and those who are homeless and formerly incarcerated, Hochul said. The store will be open seven days a week and all proceeds will be directed to Housing Works, which runs a “network of charitable retail storefronts,” according to the release.
“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 measure will attempt to address the racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests with a social and economic equity program to “facilitate individuals disproportionally impacted by cannabis enforcement,” city officials have said.
The program includes “creating a goal of 50% of licenses to go to a minority or woman owned business enterprise, or distressed farmers or service-disabled veterans to encourage participation in the industry,” a city news release said.
“Today marks a major milestone in our efforts to create the most equitable cannabis industry in the nation,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a statement on 29 December 2022.
“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,” Adams said.
Bill signed in March 2021
In March 2021, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill allowing recreational marijuana use across the state by adults 21 and older after the state Senate and Assembly voted to approve the legislation. The New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act also expunges previous marijuana convictions for actions that would be legal under the new law.
The bill allows adults 21 and older to buy cannabis from authorized sellers. Adults can also possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate. Eighteen months after the first sales begin, the law will allow adults to grow six mature and six immature plants at home per household.
It also establishes the Office of Cannabis Management, an independent office operating as part of the New York State Liquor Authority, to implement a regulatory framework. The office was designed to have a two-tier licensing structure that would separate growers and processors from those owning retail stores, Cuomo’s office previously said.
The law will also add a 13% tax to retail sales for state and local tax revenue.