From Dirty Taxi to Coochie Runtz, New York City is brimming with exotic and vegetarian breeds – if you know where to look.
Although the first licensed recreational cannabis stores in New York City won’t open until this fall, you’ll be forgiven for assuming the industry is already in operation.
From the Lower East Side of Manhattan and Washington Square Park to BrooklynQueens and Beyond, New York City is brimming with weed retailers. Some stand proudly in public, and use the gifting form (Similar to Washington, D.C. Market) in which free cannabis is tossed with the purchase of a piece of art or a token item. Other businesses remain underground, members-only, and out of reach.
Most of these stores aspire to obtain a government license as soon as they become available. And many of them sell high-quality herbs, right outside of California.
Thanks to New York City’s uniquely permissive public consumption laws, you don’t have to go far to notice that the market is imploding: you can smell it. Everywhere.
On a crisp, boisterous day in April, I toured two of these stores—along with Leafly’s East Coast editor, Calvin Stovall—to learn about the hot strains, where to easily find quality herbs, and the exciting benefits of heading underground.
NFT with a side of grass
Spin through the Lower East Side and you can’t throw a stone without hitting a pot shop (or Filled Pizza). While Imperial Cannabis Clubson Allen Street, is the most rude – with a huge pot paper sign Hanging from the front – a handful of other stores are quietly thriving in the side streets.
Street Lawyer Serviceson nearby Stanton Street, offers a quality product in a more benign environment.
However, SLS—which also operates a similar store in D.C., and a cannabis store in Miami—makes little effort to hide its wares. Pass through a glass door, present your ID to the guard, and you will find yourself in a bright and cheerful place. Behind the counter, video screens display digital artwork – NFTs – that you can purchase.
what do you know? This NFT comes with free weed! SLS provides a list of Content Packages including eight branded Sativa and Indica flowers, foods, gigs, and more. Could you Check the menu online, very. Not cheap by any means, prices are still comparable to other stores and delivery services in NYC.
The store opened last November. “At first, people had no idea what to think” about the NFT gift model, the manager, Peter, told Leafly.
But after six months, they realized it. Peter tells us that the flower is still a bestseller in the store. Hottest breeds? cheetah pissed And streaming. Both include loud and sweet sound Gelato in their lineage.
I left with a premade roll covered in kief and a mini jar of lovable Gushers. The latter proved to be totally cured, gorgeous, powerful, and adorned with frosty star buds. I’ve purchased hard herbs from NYC delivery services before, and felt like this could compare to some of the best.
New York has opened the door to gifting, but now wants to close it
Stores like Street Lawyer Services began setting up shop last year, after then-Governor Andrew Cuomo (Democrat) Signed the Marijuana Tax and Regulation Act (MRTA) In law March.
The bill makes it legal For adults to “transfer” up to three ounces of cannabis to each other, as long as “without compensation” is exchanged. In response, many aspiring entrepreneurs quickly launched “gift” dispensaries, such as those at Street Lawyer Services.
But then, in February of this year, the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) Send cease and desist letters To over 50 of these “gift” stores. The letter states disregarding the suspension and discontinuation, and you will certainly not receive a license.
To stay in the state’s good graces, and to get out of the spotlight, many secret stores that largely did not receive letters stopped the press, and their Instagram accounts were made private.
But there is still a long way to go for many of them to become fully legal. In March, New York announced that The first 100 retail licenses will be allocated For entrepreneurs affected by the war on drugs. An aspiring license holder told me that unless these existing stores qualify as such, they may wait two years to apply.
Take a journey underground, where designer herbs reign
To learn more about the silent side of the industry, Calvin and I visited a combined dispensary and members-only lounge in Manhattan that went to great lengths to remain undiscovered.
The business relies solely on word of mouth to attract new clients. It does not have a public address, and even when you are inside the building, locating the store is difficult.
But once you get past a legitimate fake wall, you’ll find yourself in an oasis for cannabis connoisseurs: the pre-packaged 80’s parade stands on shelves like artifacts, while an eclectic array of vape carts and staples sit on the counter.
Just as with Street Lawyer Services, most weeds come from California.
The store manager explained that “people trust the regulated market” in California. “It’s hemp land.”
“There are growers here that grow forever,” he said, but “people don’t necessarily associate New York with good quality cannabis.”
Some packages made it clear that these New York farmers wanted to emulate their West Coast peers. For example, the plastic tube of a New York implanted pre-fascial instrument included the icon California Warning Cardbut “CA” was modified to read “NY”.
Just like at Street Lawyer Services, the sweet fruit strains were hot in this shop. Flowing water has been sold. The manager noticed that Rainbow Sherbert #11 (also known as RS11) It also sold very well.
I bought Black cherry gelato Pre-roll: pungent and earthy, delivers a high quality, airy finish, and smokes extremely smooth.
Calvin chose the Diesel-Way Engine and Dirty Taxi. “It smells like a funky ride in the back of a Queens cab, but it makes for an amazing experience worthy of a five-star Uber ride,” he said sarcastically.
also snatched an eighth Jealous. We headed to the hall behind the shop. A group of skaters’ brothers hit high-quality bongs and laughed loudly, while at a separate table Calvin rolled a piece of fleshy backwood.
Shoot at will, Commander!
We left the store, permanent and startled, and ventured back to the bustling city, with outright jealousy at hand.
While the burgeoning industry is exciting to behold, the ability to consume in public is even more surreal. Unsurprisingly, many New Yorkers find it incredibly annoying… and this includes many lawn lovers, and proponents of rationing as well.
Calvin lit a cry of jealousy in the street. He emphasized that it was “sweet, thick, powdery and pungent,” and noted that it was sexy, too. (However, at that moment, he seemed to be basically excited about the classic New York slice of pizza.)
I sensed the momentum of the moment, holding tightly to the street, our pockets full of quality herbs. Soon it will be New York leaked The cannabis market, but in this strange period of purgatory, you can feel the promise of its greatness, too.