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New York Bodega Mini-Mart Owners Want to Sell Cannabis

The United Bodegas of America and other bodega owners are lobbying New York lawmakers for the ability to sell cannabis alongside their current offerings of tobacco and alcohol.

Full story after the jump.

An association of bodega or small convenience store owners in New York City want the right to sell cannabis once it becomes legal in the state, according to an ABC News report.

It’s one part of a push to ensure that minorities in the state get to share in the economic benefits of ending cannabis prohibition.

“All this money should not go to white-owned businesses. It should not go to corporate America. It should be shared with the underdogs.” — Fernando Mateo of United Bodegas of America, via ABC News

A bodega — which is derived from the word for a storehouse where wine is matured — is a small convenience store typically offering alcohol, tobacco, snacks, beverages, and other small offerings. There are more than 15,000 bodegas in the greater New York City area.

Many bodega owners want to be able to sell cannabis once it’s legal. “Right now we sell cigarettes, we sell beer — we are highly regulated. There is no reason why we cannot be included in the packaging, distribution and sale of marijuana,” said Mateo.

One downside, however, to making common corner stores access points for cannabis — which is currently a cash-only business — is that it further raises their profile for potential robberies.

Ultimately, lawmakers must decided how accessible cannabis should be in the Empire State. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s adult-use cannabis proposal is currently being debated in the state legislature but should garner enough support to pass.


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