GREENWICH VILLAGE, MANHATTAN (WABC) — New York state’s second legal marijuana store is holding a ceremonial first sale Monday before opening to the public on Tuesday.
The store on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village is called Smacked.
It’s the first legal dispensary in New York State owned by a marijuana convict.
Roland Conner previously served a sentence on marijuana charges. Now he’s turning that injustice into a business plan.
New York is prioritizing dispensary licenses for people with prior marijuana convictions.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out and cheering me on to celebrate this,” Conner said at a launch event Monday morning. “I’m really honored for everything, for all the support. You know it’s a process. New York is doing something amazing.”
Earlier this month, thrift store Housing Works became the first to open a licensed dispensary in New York State.
It’s also in Greenwich Village, about a 10-minute walk from Smacked.
A spokesman for the state Bureau of Cannabis Management said the agency will open about 36 more stores in the coming weeks.
The locations are strategic, away from schools and not too close to each other.
The product in the stores comes from controlled farms and has been tested in government laboratories.
There are currently around 1400 illegal weed shops across the city.
Companies have taken advantage of the apparent lack of consequences for selling without a license.
The issue was the subject of a hearing by the New York City Council’s Joint Oversight Committee last week.
Eyewitt news anchor Bill Ritter asked the Senior Policy Director of the Office of Cannabis Management about the issue on Up Close.
“The way we run the pharmacies, there will be a buffer between each one,” said Alex Bernabe. “So you won’t get what you have here if five or six of them are lined up on the same street. They’re all separated, you can’t see through the windows. You will have security measures in place, they will card everyone, and you will lose your license if you sell to anyone under the age of 21.
“So what we’re seeing now is this transition period between people abusing the system while we work to shut them down and the new pharmacies coming online,” Bernabe continued.
The fact is that it was very difficult to close the illegal stores.
The sheriff’s office will raid a store and they will be refilled the next day.
What you should know before buying legal weed in New York
Although recreational cannabis was legalized in the state as early as 2021, legal sale has not been allowed until now. Illegal vendors have been operating in the city and across the state for many months.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
ALSO READ | Alarming Problems in Tri-State’s Adult Guardianship Systems
* Receive messages from eyewitnesses
* More news from Manhattan
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app to receive breaking news notifications
* Follow us on Youtube
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News
Do you have a breaking news tip or a story idea for us to cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. When attaching a video or photo, the Terms of Service apply.
Copyright © 2023 WABC-TV. All rights reserved.