New York recreational cannabis sales begin

CNN — The first public sales of regulated cannabis in New York began at a dispensary in Manhattan’s East Village on Thursday at 4:20 p.m., hours after the first sale was made to a city official, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced.

Housing Works Cannabis Company became the first licensed dispensary in the state to open its location for business.

The dispensary is operated by Housing Works, a non-profit that services people living with HIV/AIDS and those who are homeless and formerly incarcerated, Hochul said. The store will be open seven days a week and all proceeds will be directed to Housing Works, which runs a “network of charitable retail storefronts,” according to the release.

“We set a course just nine months ago to start New York’s adult-use cannabis market off on the right foot by prioritizing equity, and now we’re fulfilling that goal,” Hochul said.

The measure will attempt to address the racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests with a social and economic equity program to “facilitate individuals disproportionally impacted by cannabis enforcement,” city officials have said.

The program includes “creating a goal of 50% of licenses to go to a minority or woman owned business enterprise, or distressed farmers or service-disabled veterans to encourage participation in the industry,” a city news release said.

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