Brooklyn is getting its first ever medical marijuana dispensary

What do you get when you create a medical marijuana program so restrictive the five companies you license to sell complain about a lack of demand? A thriving black market and wildly limited access! Thanks, Governor Cuomo!

Since New York State’s medical marijuana program was authorized back in 2015, it has gained a reputation as one of the most corporatized, inaccessible medical marijuana efforts in the country. Only patients diagnosed with one of 11 debilitating, life-threatening conditions or (as of March) chronic pain (with restrictions) qualify, dispensaries number in the tens, and it was revealed in May (after a Freedom of Information request by the New York Times on the matter was delayed nine times) that members of the State’s marijuana licensing panel boast barely the remotest relevant experience to the industry. Indeed, three architects and an accountant were behind the selection of the five companies (many of them lacking relevant industry knowledge as well) initially granted exclusive weed licenses.


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Oh, and even if you qualify for a marijuana card, you can’t smoke weed in New York State. Bud is only available in four smoke-free forms – capsules, liquids, oils, and vaporization.

All that said, there is some progress: on Tuesday, the state announced that five new companies have been allowed the necessary licenses to open dispensaries, and will do so in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. Valley Agriceuticals and Citiva, two of the newly licensed companies, will open Brooklyn dispos, DNAinfo reported.

Four of the original five companies to be allowed licenses are currently suing the state for licensing the newcomers.


Downtown Brooklyn was formerly home to a massive field o' Mary Jane. Photo via Brownstoner
Downtown Brooklyn was formerly home to a massive field o’ Mary Jane. Photo via Brownstoner

The newly authorized companies double the previous number of licensed distributors to a total of 10, and if each company builds all four allowable dispensaries, New York will have 40 dispos statewide.

This announcements comes respectively months and years after initial rumors that first Downtown Brooklyn and then Sunset Park would get dispos.

Fore more progress, sign this bill asking Governor Cuomo to make those with PTSD eligible for medical marijuana in New York State.

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