Several adult use cannabis shops are on the brink of opening their doors in New York. But now we know which one is officially going to be number two, following in the footsteps of Housing Works Cannabis Co., which opened its doors in late December.
Smacked LLC, owned by Roland Conner, will open as a “pop-up” on 144 Bleecker Street in Manhattan on Tuesday.
Nonprofits like Housing Works were not eligible for support from the New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, but Conner is. The “pop-up” will run through February 20, which is an effort on the part of the Fund, according to Hochul’s announcement, to “provide licensees the opportunity to open on a short-term basis to fast-track sales and start generating capital for their businesses, after which they will close for final construction and then re-open on a long-term basis.”
“This dispensary is the latest example of our efforts to build the most equitable and inclusive cannabis industry in the nation,” Hochul said in the announcement. “As we continue to work toward righting wrongs of the past, I look forward to new dispensaries – owned by those most impacted by the over policing of cannabis prohibition – opening soon.”
As Cannabis Wire has reported, the Fund is a $200 million public-private partnership that was established to provide turnkey storefronts to Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees, like Conner. However, the Fund has yet to disclose how much money it has raised, or how many locations it has secured.
“To date, there are several locations available and ready for initial design and build out for CAURD licensees. The Fund will be making announcements of these locations on a rolling basis,” Hochul’s announcement reads.
Earlier this month, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) published an FAQ with regard to the Fund, which it oversees in tandem with Social Equity Impact Ventures. And, for the first time, it provided some hard numbers about its “identifying and vetting” process with the real estate firm CBRE.
Specifically, “out of 10,000+ screened properties, and as of December 22, 2022, CBRE conducted a more detailed evaluation of 2300 locations through this process. Of these locations, CBRE has shortlisted over 350 locations that meet … priorities and requirements.”
Among the “priorities and requirements” are locations that, for example, are “similar in nature and environment to the location of successful dispensaries in other geographies” and are “on routes or streets likely to be frequented by cannabis consumers.” It is unclear how these qualities are determined.
Once leases are signed, the Office of Cannabis Management “will match licensees with locations and provide information to the licensee regarding the location,” which includes the “estimated cost of the build out.” (CAURD licensees must repay the costs.) Licensees can reject a location. In such a case, they get back into the queue (it is unclear where in the queue) and then another licensee in that queue is given the offer.
The Fund is also working on “coordinating a suite of wraparound, capacity-building services” for CAURD licensees.
Among these services is “assistance with securing commercial banking services from Valley National Bank, NA for dispensary operations.” Back in September, as Cannabis Wire reported, DASNY posted an RFP for potential banks, which it later canceled. Nonetheless, it’s now clear that Valley National Bank will be working with CAURD licensees.