Bushwick community outraged after Biggie Smalls mural painted over by new dispensary; mural will return

Emerald Dispensary CEO Christina DeGiovanni says she was told to paint over the mural by the Office of Cannabis Management – which the OCM could not confirm.

Katelynn Ulrich and Adolfo Carrion

Feb 16, 2024, 1:38 AM

Updated 148 days ago


Residents in the Bushwick area are up in arms after a Biggie Smalls mural in their community was painted over by a new dispensary.
The mural of Biggie Smalls as a baby watched over Suydam Street in Bushwick until the new Emerald Dispensary moved in, painting over it ahead of their grand opening on Monday.
Now, that wall is jet black, and residents are furious.
An OCM source says there was a miscommunication and the mural never needed to be covered.
But Emerald Dispensary CEO Christina Degiovanni says a compliance worker told her the outdoor artwork would "risk" them passing inspection, so they painted over all the artwork, including the mural. 
The OCM source says the worker told Degiovanni that because it could draw out the inspection approval process and the business was looking to open soon. They say no one was aware of the mural. 
Degiovanni adds that she sent photos to a compliance officer regarding the artwork on the building. The officer told her she could leave it but may be at risk of passing inspection.
The Office of Cannabis Management provided the following statement:
"New York Cannabis Law does not regulate murals or artwork that don’t advertise a cannabis business or entice youth to enter an adult-use dispensary.”
Emerald Dispensary will host a “blast-off” event on Saturday to power wash off the paint and bring the mural back to the community.

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