Cannabis Gray Market Thrives Even as Licensed Weed Takes Root in Greenwich Village
There are 20 cannabis smoke shops in the half-mile between Smacked and Housing Works. The City counted at least 15 shops open to selling cannabis products on the walk between them.
The city's cannabis gray market has flourished as the licensed green market is just beginning to take root in the area, where demand from college students is much greater than the licensed supply.
Sometimes the smoke shops have more strains. Only products are grown and made in New York at Housing Works and Smacked. They need to charge a retail cannabis tax of 13%, with 9% going to the state and 4% to NYC, on top of the potency-based tax already paid by distributors.
The result is higher prices for licensed retailers with long lines and products out of stock. They are offering an eighth of an ounce of marijuana for as little as $45 at Housing Works or $60 at Smacked before taxes, compared to $35 at many smoke shops or as low as $25 at some of the sellers.
In a new system intended to steer cannabis profits to people and communities who were disproportionately punished in New York's long war on the now-legal drug, some Villagers, visitors, local officials, and licensed sellers are upset.
It is easy to grab on the street.
The City could not have been made possible without the help of members and sponsors.
The city needs robust enforcement on those operating without a license in order to have a legal cannabis market that focuses on justice and empowerment. Unlicensed cannabis shops operate without oversight, which can lead to more purchases by children.
There are bad cannabis actors.
NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell testified at a City Council hearing last month that the number of smoke shop robberies has more than doubled in the previous four years.
Each of the roughly 1,400 smoke shops in New York City has been robbed at least once.
The Village Sun reported that two men held the Rainbow Smoke Shop on Sixth Avenue between Waverly Place and Eighth Street at gunpoint.
The mayor promised New Yorkers his administration would crack down on cannabis smoke shops selling weed without licenses.
During his State of The City address, the mayor spoke about regulating the new cannabis market with pot product labels behind him.
In his State of the City speech last week, the mayor promised to increase enforcement against unlicensed cannabis shops. We will not allow bad actors to undermine our promise to the people of New York.
One cannabis smoke shop owner told The City that the youngest person he had sold weed to was 15 years old.
The owner said he didn't want his friends to get the drug. Those shops should not be supported by them. I know where my product comes from. The previous customer was a few years older than the kid. When I asked how old he was, he said he was young. I sold my product because it isn't lacing.
A recent report from the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association, in which people bought products at unlicensed shops in New York City that were then tested by a third party, found that 40% were contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals.
The report warns of the harmful stigmas and hesitations that already exist and burdens the legal cannabis industry. Even if it is safe and regulated, first-time consumers will likely never try cannabis again, even if they get sick from buying these products.
Michael said that he isn't concerned about buying a cannabis product that's been spiked.
He told The City that he didn't think it was a factor.
There is a cannabis competition.
Smacked, the city's second licensed recreational dispensary is pictured on the outside.
Lewis is a co-founder of the Bronx Community Foundation. The Bronx Cannabis Hub helped two dozen applicants apply for retail dispensary licenses.
Lewis asked if those shops were unlicensed legacy people or if they were opportunists.
The City could not be made possible without the help of members and sponsors.
Lewis said that there is a role for legacy in the space and that it is possible to get a license.
Jay, who works at Village Craft Beer & Cannabis Smoke II, said that it's time for a widespread shutdown.
They can close everything in a single month. We're a legitimate business. Everything has to be done. Jay pointed to the tobacco retail dealer license on the counter.
They don't pay a dime. That's not right. They are not supposed to sell weed. We don't sell anything here. It's not right.
The City asked a worker at a smoke shop if they had an advantage.
The worker said people need to eat.
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Keywords: city, smoke shops, Unlicensed cannabis shops, Housing Works Cannabis
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services was supposed to issue the licenses for non-medical cannabis on Monday, but that didn't happen.
Nathan King, of University City, smells products as he shops for medical marijuana with the help of a cannabis dispensary consultant. Nelson said the company looks forward to serving new adult-use clients and their longstanding medical consumers. Robert Cohen is a writer for the Post-Dispatch.
The department announced on Thursday that it would issue licenses on Friday to the dispensary that qualified. Marijuana can be sold to anyone older than 21 when a dispensary gets its license.
The area dispensary is prepared for the expected crowd.
Laurie Gregory is the chief marketing officer of Good Day Farm, an Arkansas-based grower, manufacturer and dispensary with several area locations.
She said it had been day by day. We're waiting, we're preparing, and we're ready.
Only existing medical-use dispensaries will be able to sell recreational-use marijuana. The state health department will give licenses to any store that is in good standing on Friday.
A woman and her dog pick up an online marijuana order from a dispensary in the Delmar loop. Martin is going to work at the company.
She said that good standing means the cannabis license is not suspended, revoked or inactive at the time of the request.
Greenlight has spent $7 million or $8 million on improvements to ensure it can handle the adult-use consumer and not exclude the medical-marijuana patients that built its business.
There will be separate cannabis lines for returning medical marijuana patients in the lobbies.
New speaker boxes will be put in the stores with drive-through windows.
80 employees have been added by the company. Half of them will work the dispensary, and the other half will work on the production side. Many cannabis companies grow and process their own marijuana, which is then turned into various products, such as chews and sprays.
Amendment 3 legalized the possession of up to 3 ounces of cannabis for non-medical users and up to 6 ounces for medical users.
The first week will be a bit chaotic. Just to be among the first consumers, you will see lines. Many people in Missouri have been waiting for this for a long time.
The customers have been waiting. According to Dan Pettigrew, nine out of 10 visitors to the new ViolaSTL dispensary in Downtown West have come in to buy as recreational customers.
Pettigrew expects sales to increase by a factor of 10 when the dispensary opens on Cherokee Street.
According to Pettigrew, sales will increase more in urban and rural markets.
Sales are expected to soar, according to Greenlight's Muller. He thinks the state will soon see monthly sales of $80 million or more.
With recreational-use marijuana now legal, many of companies think it will take a big bite out of the illegal market. The fact that all legal weed is tested for 54 contaminants will appeal to many consumers who have been buying pot on street corners.
The fact that it is legal can make a difference.
When Michigan legalized recreational cannabis, she was there.
A man in his 70s came into the dispensary. He raised his hands and began to cry. She said he never thought he'd see the day he could buy a plant that helped him.
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