It’s not easy being a trailblazer, but Housing Works Cannabis Co (HWCC) did it. Nearly a year ago, under the auspices of New York’s long-running nonprofit Housing Works, the retailer became the state’s first licensed adult-use dispensary. On December 29, 2022, HWCC opened its doors to the public at 750 Broadway and has seen enormous success and community impact ever since. 

From Housing Works To Housing Works Cannabis Co: Origins Of New York's First Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary

Today the store celebrates its one-year anniversary and first complete holiday season, while looking forward to a grand reopening with a full buildout in 2024. With 2023 nearly under their belts, the team - and New York City as a whole - is counting the blessings.

Housing Works, originally founded in 1990, is legendary for its multitiered advocacy, focused on providing housing, healthcare and other resources for people living with HIV and AIDS. The nonprofit offers access to various impact programs including primary care, behavioral health and substance use counseling, legal services, and the Ready for Work initiative that empowers New Yorkers with chronic illnesses to jumpstart their careers. (Housing Works and HWCC also employ many of their own constituents.)  Over its years of operation, the organization has opened numerous eclectic thrift shops to help fund its social advocacy, as well as a Soho bookshop famous for an exceptional range of material and being a hot event venue. 

Housing Works team members and constituents advocate for compassionate drug policy (C) Housing Works

What Is Housing Works' MJ Mondaze Cannabis Education Series?

So hot, in fact, that Housing Works Bookstore hosts its cannabis sister brand’s educational events every month via the MJ Mondaze series. These free-to-attend gatherings invite the public to learn more about the plant’s wellness benefits and help normalize adult consumption in different scenarios. Events have featured an infused mixology course with The Alchemist’s Kitchen, a women’s health panel spotlighting “Sex and Cannabis,” and a screening of Elana Frankel’s award-winning short film Cannabis and Creativity, starring community leaders and artists such as HiFive Edibles founder Chef Ali, Paramount creative director Sam Jones, and Buy Weed From Women founder Jasmine Mans. 

Buy Weed From Women merch at Housing Works Cannabis Co (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Which Products Can Consumers Find At Housing Works Cannabis Co?

Consumers who shop at Housing Works Cannabis Co will find a wide range of products grown by New York’s craft cultivators and made by local brands, many of them women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA-owned. Traditional flower, vapes, edibles, and even CBD pet treats are available for purchase, with proceeds supporting the organization’s community initiatives. Like HWCC’s in-store signs say, “Make love, not drug war.”

Chris Alexander, Executive Director of New York's Office of Cannabis Management, and NYC Councilmember Carlina Rivera buy the first legal adult-use cannabis products at Housing Works Cannabis Co's opening celebration on December 29, 2022. (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Housing Works Cannabis Co Shares Reflections On Year One, And What's Next For New York's Cannabis Industry

HWCC’s team shared insights with Honeysuckle on what has been an incredible first year, and what they’re most anticipating as the state’s legal industry expands.

HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: Housing Works and HWCC have been doing an incredible job promoting cannabis education! How have you been able to intertwine the cannabis mission with the goals of the overarching organization?

HOUSING WORKS CANNABIS CO: Housing Works was founded at the height of the AIDS crisis and has been dedicated to supporting New Yorkers impacted by drug criminalization and other social justice issues since the early 1990s. All proceeds from Housing Works Cannabis Co go directly back into Housing Works’ advocacy and direct services including healthcare, housing and job training to uplift communities harmed by the War on Drugs.

You’ve had a supremely successful first year, taking in $12 million just in your first six months of operation. Where is that funding going?

All funding goes directly into Housing Works’ services and advocacy. This includes housing, healthcare and vocational training for folks coming out of incarceration.

The lines to get into Housing Works Cannabis Co on opening day, several thousand people long, stretched around the entire block twice. (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture
Housing Works team members advocate for equal rights (C) Housing Works

What does it mean to you to support local New York cultivators, processors and brands? 

First and foremost, we are New Yorkers! And we are honored to be able to showcase the hard work of our fellow New Yorkers and are especially proud to highlight women-led, BIPOC-led and queer-led brands.

Which products are your customers showing the most interest in? 

Our customers love the variety of products that we have available. But for The City That Never Sleeps, we are certainly seeing a lot of New Yorkers looking for edibles to help with a good night’s rest!

Chris Alexander shows off the Florist Farms product he purchased in Housing Works Cannabis Co's first legal sale (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

The Housing Works MJ Mondaze series tackles many different subjects in cannabis, from sexual wellness to culinary to creativity. How do you determine which topics to explore? What has been the response from the public thus far?

We’ve had a great response so far to our MJ Mondaze series (the first Monday of each month), and the audiences are as diverse as New York City itself. We enjoy thinking about the various ways people are incorporating cannabis into their lives and just take it from there. Sometimes we’re inspired by a community member or current events, and sometimes we just ask ourselves what would be fun! The series is all about providing various access points for people to learn about cannabis and connect with the New York cannabis community.

What other initiatives are the HWCC team proudest of this year? 

We’re just so thrilled to be able to share New York cannabis with the world in this first year of legal cannabis. We’re also excited for our first anniversary on December 29 and grand reopening [in early 2024], as our store is currently under renovation as we expand.

What is HWCC looking forward to in 2024, and what should the public get ready for?

For 2024, we are most looking forward to showing New York City our new and improved dispensary, while continuing to educate our customers on cannabis and its many benefits. We are also thrilled to continue the Housing Works mission of ending the dual crises of homelessness and HIV/AIDS through continued relentless advocacy, and supporting New Yorkers in need through our multiple entrepreneurial businesses, which now includes Housing Works Cannabis Co, where 100% of proceeds go toward our mission. The public should be excited to build strong and lasting relationships with our budtenders who are more than happy to walk them through any questions they may have about the newest strains and latest products in cannabis. 

Housing Works Cannabis Co is located at 750 Broadway (Broadway and 8th Street) in New York City. For more information, visit or follow @housingworkscco on Instagram. 

*A version of this article originally appeared in Honeysuckle's 17th print edition, featuring Havoc of Mobb Deep. Get your copy now at Housing Works Cannabis Co or click here to order!


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@jaimelubin (IG)

@jaimelubin (Twitter)


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Featured image: Housing Works co-founder Charles King addresses the crowd at the opening of Housing Works Cannabis Co on December 29, 2022. Members of New York's Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board, State Senator Liz Kreuger, City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, and Cannabis NYC Founding Director Dasheeda Dawson are among those in the audience. (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture