The state’s second legal weed dispensary is primed to open next week in Greenwich Village, just a few blocks from the first one, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.
Smacked LLC will open to the world at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at its new storefront at 144 Bleecker St., near New York University and Washington Square Park. The store will be New York’s second official dispensary, following the Housing Works Cannabis Company located just a few blocks away on Broadway.
And unlike Housing Works — which is operated by the nonprofit of the same name — Smacked will be the Empire State’s first bud bazaar owned and operated by someone who faced the other side of the War on Drugs.
Roland Conner, the “justice-impacted” owner of Smacked, is the first recipient of a conditional adult-use retail dispensary license — the state’s first dispensary licenses, reserved for businesspersons with weed convictions — to open up their store, with the support of the state’s Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund. He’ll be operating the business with his wife and son.
“I am so excited to become a part of history as the first individual to open a legal cannabis dispensary in New York City,” Conner said in a statement. “Given my experience with cannabis, I never could have imagined that I would be opening a store like this. I’m grateful for the opportunity to open a business with my son and wife at my side and build generational wealth, working together, right here in New York.”
“This is not just about me and my family,” Conner continued. “This is about everyone who was harmed by the draconian drug laws of the past. New York’s commitment to righting those wrongs through the law is inspiring. I am proof of that commitment because I’m standing here today.”
Tuesday’s opening will be a “soft opening,” allowing Smacked to operate as a pop-up before the complete build-out of the store and planned grand opening on Feb. 20.
All signs point to high times for New York’s legal weed industry in its inaugural year. Since opening on Dec. 29, stoners have lined up outside Housing Works virtually every day, hoping to get their sticky hands on legal flower, vapes, and edibles. Regulators expect the industry to generate $56 million in tax revenue this year from weed sales, rising to $363 million by 2028.
At the same time, innumerable unlicensed dispensaries have popped up all over the city — 11 operate within ten blocks of Housing Works, according to the City Council — and officials are floating a crackdown amid concern the proliferation of all-cash, tax-free illegal smoke shops could undermine the legal, licensed businesses.