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By Sean Teehan, Syracuse.com, Published: Jan. 20, 2023

It’s been about two months since New York awarded the state’s first batch of marijuana dispensary licenses, and licensees are now making moves – from learning how to run a legal dispensary and scouting locations to finalizing insurance plans and preparing to open in coming weeks.


Matt Robinson hopes to launch his Albany cannabis delivery service later this month, while Smacked LLC – a new retailer – will open next week, becoming the state’s second brick-and-mortar dispensary. The nonprofit Doe Fund store is looking at mid-February to open its NYC location, which would make it the second nonprofit after Housing Works to enter the market.


And cannabis tech company Dutchie is busy hosting trainings for these licensees across NYC.


Robinson received his initial Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary approval on Nov. 21 for Essential Flowers, a dispensary he intends to open in Albany. But he’s starting out with delivery, and hopes to launch in the next couple of weeks.


He predicts he’ll start out doing between $100,000 and $500,000 per week in deliveries, with a profit margin of about 5%.


After already establishing banking and insurance, Robinson said he’s in the process of finalizing worker’s compensation insurance, a deal for delivery vehicles and for the Office of Cannabis Management to approve the facility he’s secured for the business.


He intends to hire 15 part-time delivery workers out of the gate, and increase the company’s workforce from there. Robinson added that it would benefit CAURD licensees to do all they can without help from the state.


“I want to meet all the regulatory requirements that I can on my own,” Robinson said. “You want to relieve these people from some of the work they need to do; the OCM took on a lot of work in a short amount of time.”


The Doe Fund is taking a different approach, focusing on a brick-and-mortar dispensary on the front end, with a plan to add a delivery service later, according to attorney Stu Zakim, who represents the Fund’s dispensary business.


The nonprofit plans a soft launch for their store – which will be called The Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store – at 62 East 13th St. in Manhattan on Feb. 13. The shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, according to The Doe Fund. They plan to open a 5,000-square-foot store on Manhattan’s Broadway and 13th Street this summer.


The Travel Agency is planning to hire 50 people ahead of the February store opening, and has received about 500 resumes, Zakim said.


Smacked LLC, which is owned by CAURD licensee Roland Connor, will hold a soft opening next week at 144 Bleecker Street in Manhattan. Smacked will open as a pop-up store on Tuesday at 10 a.m., and will be New York’s first legal adult-use dispensary run by a justice-involved individual.


Smacked will run as a pop-up until Feb. 20, according to a statement by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announcing the store’s planned opening.


The 28 individuals who’ve been awarded CAURD licenses appear to be at various stages of planning their businesses, with some nearly ready to open and others still figuring out their locations, said Anne Forkutza, head of market expansions and industry relations at Dutchie.


Earlier this month, Dutchie – which the state selected to provide point-of-sale (POS) devices for CAURD locations – held training sessions in NYC for licensees. Forkutza said more than 20 individuals (as opposed to nonprofit licensees) attended, and sessions included compliance training, using Dutchie’s POS technology, and other topics.


“Everyone’s super excited,” she said. “We want to take this training all across New York State.”

By Sean Teehan, Syracuse.com, Published: Jan. 20, 2023

File photoMichael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

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