It's legal: the first cannabis store is open in New York

Sylvie Claire / December 30, 2022

Since Thursday, it is perfectly legal to buy cannabis in official stores in the State of New York: the very first business approved by the authorities opened in the heart of Manhattan.
More than a hundred people crowded into the trendy boutique-like premises of Housing Works, a non-profit organization, the first to open under a New York State license, out of 36 permits issued since November 21.
"The first sale of legal adult-use cannabis represents a historic milestone for the cannabis industry in New York," boasted the Democratic governor of the fourth-largest state in the United States, Kathy Hochul.
The leader enthused in a statement, "Today is just the beginning and I look forward to continuing our efforts to make (New York State) a national model for the safe, fair and inclusive industry we are building."
Behind this first official store operates the association Housing Works, which helps HIV-positive people, ex-prisoners and the homeless.
Because the huge state of New York, whose territory extends to Canada and the Great Lakes, wants to grant the first 150 licenses to traders convicted in the past for possession or sale of cannabis.
The goal: to repair what it considers today as the unjust and disproportionate impact of decades of prohibition of "marijuana", which it considers that the penalization has particularly targeted the African-American and Hispanic communities.
In the store, during a press presentation, local New York State Senator Liz Krueger, who carried the project to legalize the business, said she was "honored to witness the launch of adult-use cannabis retail."
- "Failure of criminalization" -
She welcomed the cooperation between the authorities and Housing Works for "marginalized communities" that have been "most affected by the failure of past cannabis criminalization policies. »
Even the hard-line mayor of the New York megalopolis, Eric Adams, a former police officer, acknowledged in a statement that "the legal cannabis market could be a real boon to New York's economic recovery (...) through increased tax revenues".
In a festive atmosphere and under the applause, Charles King, founder of Housing Works in 1990, said he was "eager to reinvest the profits to provide essential services (housing and health, editor's note) to tens of thousands of New Yorkers who need it.
Around him, Manhattan Borough Mayor Mark Levine and Chris Alexander, director of the New York State Cannabis Management Office, bought cannabis products: dried plants, electronic cigarettes and jelly beans. 
For more than a year, it has been legal for an adult over 21 to consume cannabis in New York State, and in its flagship city, the smell of weed is filling the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
City Hall expects $1.3 billion in sales by 2023 and 19,000 to 24,000 new jobs in three years.
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