top of page

Hemp and Cannabis News



New York’s first legal recreational marijuana sale will take place next week at a Manhattan dispensary run by a nonprofit known for its book shop and thrift stores, Gov. Hochul and state officials announced on Wednesday.

“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 in a statement. “The industry will continue to grow from here, creating inclusive opportunity in every corner of New York State with revenues directed to our schools and revitalizing communities.”

The Astor Place storefront operated by Housing Works, a minority-controlled HIV/AIDS service organization, will open its doors to the pot-smoking public on Dec. 29.

The Noho site, which formerly housed a GAP store, will be called the Housing Works Cannabis Co. and will offer a variety of adult-use cannabis products grown and processed by minority-run farms and businesses in the Empire State.

The dispensary will offer smokeable weed, commonly referred to as flower, as well as pre-rolled joints, tinctures, concentrates and edibles, with an emphasis on social equity and minority-, women- and LGBTQ-led brands. Store hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, and will expand in the coming months.

Housing Works, which currently operates a dozen thrift stores and a famed SoHo bookstore as well as running services for the homeless and those with HIV/AIDS, was granted one of the first retail licenses issued under the state’s

“This is a once in a lifetime moment,” said Sasha Nutgent, the store manager of the soon-to-open shop. “That said, our nonprofit’s mission remains as urgent as ever. We are eager to take the lead as a social equity model for America’s cannabis industry, specifically with our hiring practices and continued support of individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by the unjust War on Drugs.”

All revenue generated from dispensary sales will be directed back to the group’s parent organization, which provides job opportunities, legal advocacy and housing and health services. Housing Works runs a dozen supportive housing sites and homeless shelters as well as nearly 300 “scatter site” apartments across the five boroughs.

The group was one of eight nonprofits to receive a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary license in November, allowing for recreational pot sales after the 2021 Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act legalized the production, distribution, and use of marijuana for New Yorkers 21 and older.

The law made it so nonprofits and those most impacted by the enforcement of past pot laws would be at the front of the line for retail and other cannabis-related licenses in an attempt to ensure larger, multi-state operators didn’t flood the market as they have in other states where weed is legal.

“Not only have we ended the prohibition in New York, but we’re showing the nation, and the world, how to build a market that’s truly equitable and inclusive and works to undo the harms caused by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition,” said Chris Alexander, the executive director for the Office of Cannabis Management. “Every dollar spent in this growing industry will help support independent businesses, our schools, and our communities.”

A second New York City-based homeless services provider, the Doe Fund, also received one of the retail licenses issued last month and is planning a storefront dispensary in lower Manhattan.

Legal weed sales are starting up just weeks after Mayor Adams announced a major crackdown on unlicensed cannabis shops that have flourished across the city in recent years.


  • The Astor Place storefront operated by Housing Works, a minority-controlled HIV/AIDS service organization, will open its doors to the pot-smoking public on Dec. 29.

  • The New York City Sheriff’s Office and other agencies seized 600 pounds of weed and issued 500 civil summonses and 66 criminal summonses to dealers selling unregulated pot as part of the enforcement program.

Recent Posts

See All


Don't miss an update...

bottom of page