New York City Opens Third Legal Cannabis Store

The third cannabis store to receive a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary opened doors.
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Cannabis retail locations are rolling out in the largest city in the U.S. while unlicensed locations thrive despite numerous efforts to shut them down. New York City opened its third legal, adult-use cannabis store on Feb. 13 in Lower Manhattan.

The latest legal store to open is called Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store, and will be located on East 13th Street, between Broadway and University Place. The store will sell products including smokable flower, edibles, concentrates, and vapes, according to its website

“We’re building a cannabis industry here in New York State that is equitable and delivers new resources to nonprofits that bring supportive services to our communities,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “This is the latest milestone in our efforts to grow the industry, while creating jobs and opportunity for those who, historically, have been disproportionately targeted for cannabis infractions.”

It’s the third legal cannabis store after the nonprofit Housing Works opened one on East 8th Street and Broadway and Smacked LLC, a store that opened on Bleecker Street last month. The new store leadership celebrated its opening during the governor’s announcement.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has contributed to the opening of the Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store. From our amazing partners at The Doe Fund who had the courage and innovation to embrace this opportunity; to the OCM, New York State and New York City in paving the way for this new industry and their ongoing commitment in ensuring this legal industry will be a success; our amazing team members who have worked day and night to get us to this point; and our friends & family who have supported us in this endeavor from the beginning,” said CEO of Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store, Paul Yau. “We thank you all.”

The opening of the store is part of New York State’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative and helps advance the state’s goals of equity in cannabis licensing.

First to Receive Retail Licenses in New York

Union Square Travel Agency is also the third Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) location. The CAURD license is a “central pillar” of the New York State Seeding Opportunity Initiative. Under that Initiative, New York’s first legal adult-use retail dispensaries will be operated by people most impacted by the War on Drugs, or non-profit organizations whose services include support for the formerly incarcerated. 

In order to be eligible for a CAURD license, applicants must either have a cannabis conviction themselves, or be the close family relative of someone who does, and own or have owned a business that had a net profit for at least two years. 

Nonprofits are eligible for CAURD licenses if they meet a number of conditions as well.

These dispensaries are making legal adult-use sales with cannabis products grown by New York Farmers.

“The opening of this third dispensary in Manhattan marks the latest milestone in the growth of New York State’s Cannabis Industry. These new locations will provide an opportunity for local businesses to continue to grow and build a vibrant market while capitalizing on the growing demand for safe, tested, quality cannabis products. The possibilities for our nascent market are endless.”

The New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced the final list of applicants who will be issued the first round of retail cannabis licenses in the state. Thirty-six applicants were announced on Nov. 20, 2022, chosen out of a pool of 903 applicants. All cannabis sold in New York is subject to a 13% sales tax.

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