Inside New York’s struggling weed real estate experiment

Its social equity program goes further than any other legal cannabis state. It’s also contributing to a rocky rollout
Politico (US)
Sunday, February 5, 2023

Roland ConnerRoland Conner never imagined that getting arrested for marijuana in the ‘90s would lead to where he is now: the owner of a new cannabis dispensary in the heart of Greenwich Village. The blocks surrounding his shop, Smacked Village, are bustling with potential customers among the NYU students and people coming in for the city’s nightlife — and New York took extraordinary steps to make it work. By far the biggest perk is that a state agency located, leased and will renovate a storefront on one of the priciest slabs of real estate in the world to help someone sell a drug that once landed people in prison. But Conner’s fledgling cannabis business is also vastly outnumbered by illicit competitors that have sprouted all over the city since the state legalized weed for adults nearly two years ago.