State-licensed cannabis dispensary opens near Times Square on 8th Avenue

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, June 20, 2024
State licensed cannabis dispensary opens near Times Square
Janice Yu reports on the new dispensary from Times Square.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A state-licensed cannabis dispensary has opened its doors Thursday near Times Square and officials hope it will help curb some of the problems associated with illegal stores.

The opening of Nicklz on 48th Street and Eighth Avenue comes as the city fights to crack down on illegal weed shops.

The new shop will legally sell only state-approved and certified cannabis products.

Nicklz stands directly across the street from an illegal weed dealer selling cheaper and unregulated products. That shop, and another less than a block away, have been closed by police and padlocked under a new initiative to protect licensed cannabis sellers.

Aside from the economic loss, those illegal shops sell unregulated products and no one knows where they came from. Packaging, which is often colorful, has also become an issue as it tends to attract children.

Nicklz owner Nicholas Koury is supported by the New York Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund, which is a public-private fund created to provide opportunities to those who have spent time in the criminal justice system and received a dispensary license from the state office of cannabis management.

The store opening comes as the city continues to try to get a handle on the estimated 2,900 illegal shops throughout the city.

A task force has closed a total of 114 shops in just three weeks, and as a result, the state says there has been a 27% increase in legal cannabis sales in the area.

Koury says he hopes his store changes people's perceptions of the cannabis business.

"We want to create a safe and educational experience, we want people to feel secure and knowledgeable about the products that they're consuming," Koury said. "And we just want to make sure that that we line that up nicely for everybody who walks through the door."

There are about 136 legal pot stores in the state.

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