Those who live around New York City’s Union Square Park have seen many things during its illustrious history. But one thing residents have never seen in the neighborhood is a medical marijuana dispensary. That will change in January of 2016.
A group called Columbia Care will be opening NYC’s first dispensary on 14th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. It will be one of the 20 dispensaries opened by five companies awarded a license to operate in New York State. Each license gets you four dispensaries and one manufacturing facility.
A total of 43 companies vied for the five licenses, showing you just how lucrative they are going to be.
Under New York’s medical marijuana law, smoking cannabis is not seen to have any medical value and therefore is not allowed. Rather restrictive, but as the saying goes, something is better than nothing.
The symbolism of having a dispensary in Manhattan is not lost on many in the cannabis community. In 20 years, New York City may be home to hundreds of recreational shops, but this is where it started. A lone outpost providing cannabis for the sick and ailing.
Hopefully activists in the future will be able to get the medical marijuana program expanded in New York. If that happens, 20 dispensaries statewide will not be able to handle the demand of such a populous state, and more should be added. A huge legal market exists in New York for the cannabis industry to fill, if only politicians would allow for the industry to emerge from the shadows of the black market.
Some would think a liberal state like New York would be further along when it comes to marijuana law reform, but in every state the politicians lag behind the people; in some states the lag is larger than others. Hopefully New York is beginning to catch up.