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Dec 29, 2022
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New York’s legal marijuana store opens to big crowds, happy customers

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New York’s first legal cannabis sales took place on Thursday afternoon at Housing Works, the state’s first adult-use dispensary in downtown Manhattan, after key lawmakers Chris Alexander and Tremaine Wright made initial ceremonial transactions behind closed doors.

At 4:20 p.m., Housing Works’ new retail dispensary at 750 Broadway, one block west of Astor Place in Greenwich Village, welcomed its first official customers for legal weed sales. Shoppers waited in line outside of the dispensary ahead of the grand opening. Housing Works is one of eight nonprofits that got approval to open doors on day one. The nonprofit was the only licensed store ready to welcome customers on New York’s official day.

A man smokes from a pipe while waiting in line to buy from the state’s first legal weed store, Housing Works, in Greenwich Village, NYC. (Meg Schmidt / Leafly)

Not long after the first purchaser of legal weed, Ken W., made the historic transaction, the floodgates were open for New Yorkers 21 years of age and older to legally purchase cannabis.

Ken W, a Texas-to-New-York transplant, was the first customer in line at noon in front of Housing Works. He didn’t plan to be part of history, but he enjoyed his legal Gorilla Glue and posed for the cameras anyway. (Meg Schmidt / Leafly)

35 other retailers are also licensed to kick off New York’s legal weed market. But they are limited to delivery while the state helps them build out brick-and-mortar shops. Here’s how and where to buy legal weed in New York on day one, and beyond.

Keep reading to learn how the first day of legal weed in New York unfolded.

10 a.m. in Manhattan: Housing Works press conference

Housing Works was packed with press hoping to witness the first sale of legal cannabis in New York. (Meg Schmidt / Leafly)

Just before doors opened, Leafly spoke to the owners and organizers of Housing Works, along with regulators, and faithful customers who started lining up hours in advance. Key lawmakers Chris Alexander and Tremaine Wright were the first to make ceremonial purchases of legal cannabis behind closed doors.

Governor celebrates new weed order

While not there in person, Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted, “This is a historic milestone for New York’s budding cannabis industry, and I look forward to solidifying our state as a national model for building an industry that’s equitable and inclusive.”

Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander (Jon Bain / Leafly)

OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander was nearly brought to tears, thanking his team profusely. “I am honored, humbled, appreciative of the adults in this room. I see you all; we’ve been doing this for a long time. There have been a lot of rooms [that] listened to me talk. But I just appreciate your commitment, your unwavering, unwavering push for equity. I say often [and] I will say it again, equity is not a thing, it’s the thing.”

(Meg Schmidt / Leafly)
New York cannabis board chair Tremaine Wright (left) and cannabis office executive director Chris Alexander (right). (Meg Schmidt / Leafly)

Given how much they worked to bring the adult-use market online, it’s only fair that regulators like OCM’s Executive Director Chris Alexander and Tremaine Wright, chair of the New York Cannabis Control Board, got first dibs on a legal purchase. They both picked up some edibles in the ceremonial purchase, and Alexander grabbed an eighth to roll up (papers only, he says).

Legacy pioneers share their joy

Legacy New York growers King Aswad and Jasmine Burems were filled with joy to witness the historic moment of New York’s first legal sales. (Meg Schmidt / Leafly)

King Aswad and Jasmine Burems, founders of legacy cultivation brand Claudine Farms, were elated to see New York finally take that first leap to welcome legal adult-use weed.

“It’s a village,” says Burems. “Everybody has their role. We all have to do our part, so we’re willing to serve as an opportunity space for our community and for legacy operators to enter the legal industry. That’s the work that we’re interested in doing.”

Pot pandemonium was the scene in New York on day one of legal sales. (Meg Schmidt / Leafly)

While no one chose to camp overnight to be ahead of the game, the line at Housing Works was curling around the block by 3 p.m., with an eclectic mix of eager customers. Some cannabis culture mainstays, including Fab 5 Freddy and Shiest Bubz also made appearances.

While the first official customer purchase by Ken W. didn’t take place until after 4 p.m., the line for Housing Works’ first adult-use sales started around noon. A former resident of Houston, Texas, Ken moved to New York City earlier this year and told Leafly that he uses cannabis for his anxiety. Ken was smoking a bowl of Green Crack to pass the time in line, and marked the occasion by picking up an eighth of Gorilla Glue, New York’s most popular strain of 2022, per Leafly data.

“That was a really intense experience,” Ken told Leafly.





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