NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 29: People wait in line for the 4:20 PM grand opening of Housing Works Cannabis Co on December 29, 2022 in New York City. New York officials and Housing Works leadership held a press conference earlier today, ahead of the grand opening of Housing Works Cannabis Co, New York state's first legal cannabis dispensary. It is one of the first recreational cannabis dispensaries to be awarded a CAURD license in the state of New York. All sales from the dispensary will be directed to parent organization Housing Works, Inc and will be used to address HIV/AIDS and homelessness crisis. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Just ahead of the New Year, New York State's first legal, recreational pot shop opened for business on Thursday.
Governor Kathy Hochul aimed to have at least one non-Native American retail week store open before the start of 2023, and with just two days to spare, it has happened.
For Upstaters looking to purchase their pot in a retail setting, you'll need to travel all the way to New York City - specifically, Manhattan. While cannabis was decriminalized and essentially legalized for adult, recreational use - the Housing Works Cannabis Company became the first retail shop to sell weed for personal, non-medical use (save for a few Native America reservations).
"The first legal adult-use cannabis sales mark a historic milestone in New York's cannabis industry," Hocul said Thursday in announcing the businesses opening. "Today is only the beginning, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to solidify New York as a national model for the safe, equitable and inclusive industry we are now building."
Housing Works Cannabis Co. is owned by Housing Works, the nation's largest minority-controlled HIV/AIDS service organization, and the country's largest community based HIV/AIDS service organization.
Those waiting in line hoping to be the first to buy may have been disappointed. Officially, the first purchase was made by a department head of NYS government - Chris Alexander, executive director of the state's Office of Cannabis Management, the governor's office said. Alexander is weed-advocate who fought years for legalization and helped write the legislations that legalized cannabis in New York, officials said.
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