Called “Good Grades,” the dispensary will also be the first legal cannabis store in the New York City borough of Queens.
“With the opening of Good Grades in Queens, we’re continuing to build on our progress to create a safe, regulated cannabis industry in New York,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a press release on Monday. “New York is working to support entrepreneurs and ensure that consumers can purchase safe, legal products while supporting their communities.”
Hochul, the state’s first woman governor, has overseen the launch of the state’s regulated cannabis market. Her predecessor, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, signed the bill legalizing recreational marijuana in 2021.
The state formally launched the new marijuana market late last year with the opening of a dispensary in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.
Good Grades will open this week as a “pop-up” store, according to the governor’s press release, and the business is supported by the New York State Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, which was a part of Hochul’s 2022-23 budget.
The fund “is a public-private limited partnership that will be formed to position social equity entrepreneurs to succeed in New York’s newly created adult use cannabis industry,” Hochul’s office says, and “will allow the state to invest in a private fund to finance the leasing and equipping of up to 150 conditional adult-use retail dispensaries in New York State to be operated by individuals who have been impacted by the inequitable enforcement of marijuana laws.”
The governor’s office said that, like other dispensaries backed by the fund, Good Grades opening as a pop-up presents “the opportunity to open on a short-term basis to fast-track sales, provide training opportunities for employees and start generating capital for their businesses.”
“After, they will close for final construction and then re-open on a long-term basis,” according to this week’s press release.
“I am thrilled to be opening the doors of Good Grades, the very first dispensary in Queens, New York,” said Good Grades owner Extasy James.
“We are incredibly passionate about providing greater access to cannabis and breaking down the barriers that prevent so many people, especially those from marginalized communities, from experiencing the benefits of this amazing plant. We understand firsthand the stigma that has been attached to cannabis for far too long, and we are eager to join the thriving cannabis community to help change that. Our dispensary is a welcoming and inclusive space where anyone can come to learn, explore, and find the products that are best suited to their unique needs.”
New York City opened its third legal dispensary last month––not to be confused with the illicit cannabis retailers that have blanketed all five boroughs in the last two years.
The first dispensary outside of NYC also opened to customers last month.
Earlier this month, the state announced that it would double the number of cannabis retailer licenses, and will now award 300 instead of the originally planned 150.
“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry, allowing them to capitalize on the growing demand for cannabis products,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the New York Cannabis Control Board. “As more businesses enter this market, the innovation and competition will increase, leading to better quality experiences for consumers. The expansion of New York’s cannabis market will benefit everyone involved in this exciting industry.”
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