In New York, a dispensary is changing cultural norms surrounding cannabis. This new dispensary in Queens is part of the New York Curaleaf chain that opened on Tuesday, July 10th. Here’s how they’re bringing a West Coast attitude towards buying weed through innovative interior design.
A Space Redefining What It Means To Be Dispensary
It’s hard to undo decades of anti-weed propaganda, especially in a city known for a high number of racially skewed marijuana arrests. But Curaleaf, a New York weed dispensary with three other locations in Plattsburgh, Newburgh, and North Hempstead, hopes to destigmatize cannabis through the way they design their stores.
Their newest dispensary is located at 107-18 70th Road in Forest Hills, Queens. It has modern white walls, dynamic lighting and a neon sign. Instead of closing off the dispensary from public view, Curaleaf added big windows that invite passerbys to peer in.
In a public statement, president of Curaleaf parent company PalliaTech NY, explained, “Medical marijuana has already helped tens of thousands of New Yorkers and we are excited to welcome patients to our Forest Hills dispensary to access the treatment they need or learn more about medical marijuana and the state’s program.”
But Curaleaf isn’t only concerned about the aesthetics of dispensary design. Medical marijuana patients, who are New York State residents and medical marijuana card members, can consult with Curaleaf’s trained dispensary employees on their initial visit. Afterward, they can select a tincture, capsule or vaporizer—New York’s only legal medical marijuana options.
The Future of Weed In New York
This modern dispensary is opening at a turning point in New York’s cannabis history. Despite New York’s reputation as a blue state, it’s far from liberal when it comes to weed. They’ve only stopped arresting people for weed possession this year. And today, under New York’s medical cannabis program, you cannot buy flower. This makes cannabis medicine unaffordable for many.
Despite these restrictions, many are optimistic that things are changing in the Empire State. Luxury cannabis retailer MedMen opened a store on Fifth Avenue this year. Unfortunately, only the 60,000 medical marijuana patients in New York can shop there. This figure, small compared to the population, represents a jump from last year. New York recently legalized medical marijuana as a substitute for opioids and added chronic pain as a qualifying condition.
There is also talk of further expanding the medical marijuana program, and even legalizing recreational weed. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which has been around for some time, is gaining support. But major obstacles remain: Governor Andrew Cuomo will be the deciding vote, and until recently, he called weed a “gateway drug.”
But dispensaries like MedMen and Curaleaf show that companies are optimistic. Legalizing recreational weed in New York would create one of the largest markets in America. But for the time being, New York’s medical marijuana patients have one more great dispensary option.