New Jersey can finally say that it has beat New York at something! Go figure! 😂 On Thursday, April 21st the legal recreational sale of cannabis began in New Jersey to great fanfare. The first crop of 13 dispensaries are all current medical cannabis license holders with additional dispensaries to follow. The New York Times and other outlets covered the rollout and impressively 10,000 new cannabis customers turned out on the first day of sales. While all of this is welcome news for New Jersey cannabis lovers, for us New Yorkers we are impatiently waiting for our turn to show up and show out as they say! Here are some of the top reasons why New Yorkers have a lot to be excited about as we await the first day of recreational sales that will blow our funny neighbors out of the water
New York City’s Neighborhoods and Access For All
New York City is a rich cosmos of arts, culture, food and entertainment that continue to make this town one of the best in the world but what truly sets us apart are our PEOPLE! New Yorkers are beyond definition we have a “you gotta be here to truly understand” motto that describes how special New Yorkers are. There is a reason why we represent our boroughs and neighborhoods as hard as we do and that is because so much of our life experiences are shaped by where we live and who we are mixing it up with every day. Each neighborhood in NYC will have recreational dispensaries that we here at Stash Queens hope reflect the vibrancy, local texture and spread love ethos New York and particularly our beloved Brooklyn is known for. It is part of the Stash Queens mission to open a dispensary that has the support of a wide array of community stakeholders. We want to foster beneficial relationships where community members know us and we know them. New York dispensaries will for certain be accessible and close to subway stations that will be able to bring a lot of new and curious customers to their doors. At current, New Jersey has only 3 locations that are 45 mins to an hour away from NYC on public transportation. While other stores will be opening in places like Jersey City and along the PATH Train, here in New York City, there will be a multitude of options for New Yorkers to choose from.
Social Equity and First Out The Gate
While the jury is still out on how social equity applicants will end up faring in New York City (fingers and toes crossed) one key point is particularly reflected in the public comments made by New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management leaders. New York has the benefit of seeing how other states developed their social equity plans and have tried to not copy the much maligned issues that have been chronicled in other states like California and you guessed it New Jersey. None of the 13 “alternative treatment centers” as they are sometimes referred to currently selling recreationally in New Jersey are owned by Black and Brown operators. In fact, all of them are multi-state operators (MSO’s)otherwise known as “Big Cannabis”. While social equity applicants are waiting to be licensed, the MSO’s are raking in the cash and have a huge advantage in marketing and profiting from being established and first to reach the recreational market. Here in New York City we are hoping that once recreational licenses are granted that many of those first operators will be Black and Brown led businesses. Already on tribal lands in upstate New York, Native operators are opening and running dispensaries in accordance with tribal laws that are sovereign from New York State laws and regulations. It is very much the opposite than what we are seeing in New Jersey and we are here for it! Being a “first” means that many more eyes are watching to see how you rise to the occasion and/or watching to see if you fail. New York’s Black and Brown cannabis entrepreneurs should not only be given priority to come to market but should be given access every step of the way to ensure that on our state’s first day of recreational sales Black and Brown businesses are plentiful on that list.
Oh The Places We Will Go
So we talked about earlier how amazing living in New York City can be but I think what I am most excited for will be the opening and creation of entertainment spaces geared for the cannabis consumer. For years, I have always been the friend that goes to the bar and may nurse one cocktail for the entire evening but will be outside of the function smoking and hanging with old and many times new friends. It is a dream that nightlife will now be shaped around my desire for great music, engaging and funny people and a joint to go with it. New York City knows how to do nightlife whereas our friends in New Jersey could never hold a candle to us in that regard hence the “Bridge and Tunnel” label given to them when they come barreling through on a weekend to take advantage of our “joie de vivre” or buoyant joy of life and all of its goodness. Imagine the different social offerings from cool art to comedy shows, and theatre for the stoners. The possibilities are endless and again New Yorkers and also people from New Jersey have all of this to look forward to! If we can just get through this period of hurry up and waiting, a glorious and truly unique to New York City cannabis experience awaits us all!