First Ulster County Dispensary “Big Gas” Opens – SUNY The New Paltz Oracle

Photo Courtesy of Michael Erkan

On April 17, New York State’s 100th and Ulster County’s first licensed cannabis dispensary, Big Gas Dispensary, opened its doors to the public in its new permanent location, the former New Paltz Stewart’s Shops gas station site.

Community members gathered inside the store for the highly anticipated event, with New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers and County Executive Jen Metzger making supportive appearances.

“This is huge for New Paltz,” said Justin Salsberg, a New Paltz local and recreational cannabis user. “Having it here locally just makes sense.”

Originally founded in 2023, Big Gas has been operating for the past year exclusively as a cannabis delivery service in the Hudson Valley, with the ultimate goal of opening an in-person location. Owners Zymia Lewis and Kareem Haynesworth are residents of Middletown but chose New Paltz for the location of their dispensary due to their perception of New Paltz being “cannabis-friendly.” 

The opening of a cannabis retailer in the New Paltz area has been years in the making. Despite New York State legalizing adult-use cannabis on March 31, 2021, nearly two years passed before the first licensed retail dispensary opened in New York City on Jan. 24, 2023. 

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