The first New York dispensary owned by a social equity applicant opens next Tuesday in Manhattan. The dispensary, called Smacked LLC, will be owned and operated by Roland Conner with a soft opening as a “pop-up” from January 24 through February 20.
New York’s social equity program prioritizes providing cannabis licenses to justice-involved individuals – people with a cannabis conviction or a close relative of someone with one.
Conner previously owned and operated property management businesses in New York City for 15 years and currently manages a transitional housing facility providing shelter for two dozen men in the Bronx.
“I am so excited to become a part of history as the first individual to open a legal cannabis dispensary in New York City. Given my experience with cannabis, I never could have imagined that I would be opening a store like this. I’m grateful for the opportunity to open a business with my son and wife at my side and build generational wealth, working together, right here in New York. But this is not just about me and my family. This is about everyone who was harmed by the draconian drug laws of the past. New York’s commitment to righting those wrongs through the law is inspiring. I am proof of that commitment because I’m standing here today.” — Connor in a press release
In a statement, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the shop is the latest example of the state’s efforts “to build the most equitable and inclusive cannabis industry in the nation.”
Tremaine Wright, chair of the Cannabis Control Board, said dispensaries with ownership like Smacked’s exemplify the state’s “nation-leading model for establishing an equitable cannabis industry that works to offset the harms caused by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.”
The business is partly supported by the state’s Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund which is working with the Social Equity Servicing Corporation, a subsidiary of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, to support the acquisition, design, construction, and outfitting of locations for cannabis dispensaries to be operated by conditional adult-use retail dispensary licensees.
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