For those who thought that marijuana legalization was primarily a West Coast gig, contemplate this interesting factoid. Beginning January 2016, New York City’s Union Square will be blessed with its own medical marijuana dispensary.
According to online reports, New York’s first dispensary will be located on 14th St., between Second and Third Avenue and will be managed by Columbia Care. The New York City-based company was awarded one of the Big Apple’s five medical marijuana licenses during the July selection process. With all five companies chosen, dispensary owners are cultivating plans for their grand openings throughout the city.
After the passage of the 2014 Compassionate Care Act, New York will finally be joining the other 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, which currently allows for the use of medical marijuana.
Learn more about medical marijuana in the Empire State
The competition for obtaining one of New York’s 5 state medical marijuana licenses was grueling: 43 entrepreneurs across the country tossed their application for five licenses into the state’s proverbial hat. Those lucky enough to be granted a New York State license will be allowed to run one cultivation center and four dispensaries – all of which must be located in the state of New York.
The new medical marijuana business licenses were granted by the New York Department of Health, and as a condition to their licensing, all five business entities that will be required to grow their product in the Empire State.
For the sake of clarification, under New York’s current medical marijuana program, approved uses of marijuana’s many beneficial cannabinoids will be restricted to concentrates (a.k.a. oil). Unfortunately, according to the State’s Department of Health, New York’s Compassionate Care Act excluded the idea of smoking marijuana as a certified medical use.
While New York’s two newest dispensaries (Pharmacannis and Columbia Care) are remaining focused on growing their new operations – neither are interested in the recreational business model at this point.