New York City’s Union Square will host the first confirmed dispensary in the five boroughs, according to several media reports. The Columbia Care-operated facility will be located on 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues in Manhattan. It is slated to open on Jan. 1, 2016.

“We hope to move as closely to a pharmaceutical manufacturing process as we can,” Columbia Care CEO Nicholas Vita told NBC News.

Columbia Care, based in the Big Apple, is one of five companies granted a license last July to cultivate and sell medical marijuana in the state. They will cultivate and manufacture their medical marijuana products in Monroe County and, in addition to the Union Square location, will operate three others in Monroe, Clinton and Suffolk Counties.

“Our commitment to sponsor research with our hospital partners will ensure that New York State will remain at the cutting edge of innovation by continually improving patient care,” Vita said in a press release. “We are proud that our network of dispensaries and cultivation facilities will provide economic growth throughout the state by creating jobs and fostering economic renewal.”

Columbia Care, via their business advisory firm FTI Consulting, declined to comment for this article.

Bloomfield Industries, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain LLC and PharmaCann LLC were also granted licenses to operate within the city but their sites have not yet been confirmed. In a previous interview with Ganjapreneur, Empire State Health Solutions CEO Kyle Kingsley said his company would be ready to open up their shops by the New Year but did not offer any firm locations at that time.

“Barring grow failure, natural disaster or some other catastrophic failure…we will be ready by the first,” Kingsley said in that interview.

New York’s Compassionate Care Act approves the use of cannabis for patients at least 21-years-old suffering from a short-list of ailments such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gerhig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, neuropathies, spinal cord injuries and HIV/AIDS. The Health Department would have to approve marijuana to be used as treatment for unlisted ailments and also has the power to shut down the program completely at their discretion.

The law does not allow for the plant matter to be smoked as a mode of treatment, instead the Health Department has only approved liquid and oil treatments for consumption orally or through a tube. The legislation is virtually the same as the models in Nebraska, Minnesota and Louisiana which Kingsley referred to as “true medical models.”

New York was the twenty-third state, along with Washington, D.C., to legalize the use of medical marijuana.  

Photo Credit: David Robert Bliwas

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