NEW YORK — The first legal dispensary for recreational marijuana in New York rung up its first sales on Thursday, opening up what is expected to be one of the country’s most lucrative markets for cannabis — underscored by the dozens of unauthorized shops that have operated in the open for years.
The widely anticipated opening of the first state-sanctioned dispensary, which is operated by the nonprofit Housing Works, paves the way for a string of openings expected in the coming months in New York. The state legalized recreational marijuana use in March 2021.
A line of hundreds snaked around the block, many giddy with excitement over the opening. The whiff of marijuana filled the air.
Lino Pastrana was among those waiting his turn after the store opened to the public at 4:20 Thursday afternoon.
“This is historical. It’s really important for us who buy and smoke weed because we can buy quality, instead of buying random weed that you don’t know what it’s mixed with,” Pastrana said.
That’s something he risked, he said. “You can buy weed anywhere in New York,” he said, saying that he expects to buy his merchandise from legal dispensaries