2nd legal cannabis dispensary in New York opens Tuesday
The first legal cannabis dispensary in New York owned by someone with a prior cannabis conviction opens Tuesday. It is the second legal dispensary in the state.
Roland Conner is the owner of the brand-new dispensary Smacked and is hoping he can create new beginnings through this new business venture.
“Thinking about this opportunity here – I think what happens is that we get a chance to right the wrongs of the past and give us an opportunity… to do the things that we need to do,” said Conner. “Any time you have a prior convicition, that stigma stays with you… it’s a hindrance for a lot of people trying to move forward in their life.”
The state is actively working to level the playing field for those who have been harmed in the past by marijuana laws, prioritizing them to receive cannabis retail licenses and supporting them through the State Social Equity Cannabis Fund.
“I grew up thinking that marijuana was bad. Throughout New York City, kids like me were scared. Scared of their own communities, scared of their own loved ones because we didn't want to go down that path,” said Council Member Christopher Marte. “I am so honored to have the first social equity establishment in my district because it shows there is a way."
The shelves at Smacked are stocked with a number of marijuana products as staff anticipates a large crowd when they open their doors to make their first official sale.
Conner says he wanted to open this dispensary so that his son Darius would not end up walking down a similar path as he once did. He’s looking forward to passing this family business down for generations to come.