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Recreational cannabis sales kick off in New York City

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced that the first public sales of regulated cannabis in the state began at Housing Works Cannabis Company in Manhattan’s East Village, the first licensed dispensary to open for business, CNN reports. The store started selling to the public at 4:20 p.m. on Thursday after the dispensary made the first sale to a city official. 

The dispensary is owned and operated by Housing Works, a non-profit organization that helps people living with HIV/AIDS, the homeless, and the formerly incarcerated. The store will be open seven days a week, and all proceeds will go to Housing Works, which plans on eventually having three dispensaries in Manhattan, per Hochul’s press 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, per CNN.

By midday, hundreds of people were standing in line to be some of the first to purchase marijuana legally in the state. The dispensary’s managers said they expected over 2,000 visitors on Thursday and to sell out of products by Saturday, per The New York Times.

In March 2021, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill that allowed recreational marijuana sales throughout the state for adults 21 and older. The New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act also included plans to expunge previous marijuana convictions for actions legalized under the new law. The bill also established the Office of Cannabis Management, which approved the first batch of cannabis retail licenses in November, permitting three dozen entrepreneurs and nonprofits to open dispensaries.

Source: Recreational cannabis sales kick off in New York City

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