Welcome to Honeysuckle’s New York Retail Dispensary Round-Up! As the Empire State’s cannabis industry evolves, we’re bringing you updates with information on new store openings, events, and other developments that the public needs to know.

In what seemed a holiday miracle, the injunction against the Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program ended, and store openings are surging in the final weeks of 2023. By end of day on Monday, December 18th, all general cultivator, processor, retail and microbusiness licensing rounds will close for the year - so make sure you have your materials in to the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM)! For more information on licensing, click here.

Meanwhile, both the Five Boroughs and the state at large are celebrating new dispensary openings all over. From last week’s additions to the upcoming launches, read on and find out where you have to be for your best local bud. 

The OCM and CCB release statements on the lawsuit settlement and injunction lifting, courtesy of OCM

The Future Of CAURD: After Injunction, More Stores

New York’s cannabis stakeholders finally had answers to the questions posed by the CAURD lawsuit when settlement stipulations were filed on November 28th. Though many in the industry were on the other side of the country at MJBizCon, we all closely watched for the documents that would tell us the future of the program prioritizing those most impacted by the War on Drugs. 

The settlement stipulations in Carmine Fiore et al v New York State Cannabis Control Board et al decided a case in which four service-disabled veterans had sued the OCM, joined by a coalition of medical operators and corporate entities.State Supreme Court justice Kevin Bryant had seen merit in the plaintiffs’ argument that CAURD was unconstitutional and shutting out other social equity groups, so on August 7th he had issued an injunction barring the state from granting further licenses or processing operations in the category. This meant no new CAURD retailers could open. After weeks of worry and pressure, the OCM opened license applications to the general public on October 4th, including pathways for Registered Organizations (ROs) to expand from medical to adult-use licenses. Following the public portal launch, a lucky few CAURD licensees were approved for exemptions to finish setting up their stores in late October.

That brings us to recent developments, when a settlement agreement and the injunction’s lifting were announced just after Thanksgiving. “Today is a good day for New York,” said OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander in response, “for the dream of equity in cannabis, and for every New Yorker hoping to have a legal, licensed cannabis dispensary in their community. New York is the only state in the nation where those harmed by prohibition, including non-profits serving formerly incarcerated individuals, are the building blocks of our cannabis industry, and we are immensely proud of this. I’m also deeply relieved for the many entrepreneurs, who have spent the last three months trapped in limbo, who are now able to open their cannabis businesses, and for our communities, which will soon begin to see more stores open faster.”

What's In The CAURD Lawsuit Settlement?

Notably, while the injunction’s end does promise relief for the over 400 CAURD license holders who have been in limbo, not all is rosy. One clause in the settlement documents states that no new CAURD licenses can be awarded until at least April 2024. 900-plus justice-involved applicants had gone into the portal last year hoping to be granted a ticket to business, but we’re still not sure in what manner the program may continue after the current class is fully processed. 

Even in a virtual session held on December 6th to address concerns, Alexander and OCM First Deputy Director Patrick McKeage raised points that some considered more alarming than assuaging. For instance, the department had told CAURD licensees to enter the general application pool in October. Those who wanted to keep their CAURD licenses will be refunded for the extra application fees, but those who wish to stay in the general queue may be forfeiting their chance at a license altogether. Then there were still many questions about the New York Social Equity Fund run by the state’s Dormitory Authority (DASNY). Currently the funding is only for CAURD licensees, viewers on the call were told, and cannot be guaranteed to anyone except the first 150 licensed applicants. Yet the town hall was also filled with optimism about the potential of small businesses to power the state’s cannabis industry. 

For more details, check out the full town hall here.

Other stipulations to note in the lawsuit settlement include the fast-tracking of licenses for the four veteran plaintiffs, and the establishment of more official collaboration between the OCM and the Division of Service-Disabled Veteran Business Development to encourage more veterans to work in or with the cannabis sector. For the former, one can’t help but wonder - isn’t this a somewhat dangerous precedent, to give parties licenses just because they initiate a lawsuit? Could this lead to suits with similar goals in the future? That remains to be seen. And for the latter, shouldn’t the involvement of veteran-owned businesses have been something the OCM was working toward all along? Why did it take such a drawn-out procedure to get the agency there? 

Still, for the liberation of our CAURD colleagues and the next evolution of New York’s cannabis industry, we must give a cheer. Progress is coming home for the holidays. 

Upstate New York Welcomes Multiple Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensaries In Albany, Amsterdam, Buffalo, Potsdam, Rochester And Troy

In just the past week, Upstate New York has seen a flourishing of local cannabis businesses. Dispensaries are operating in the Capital Region for the first time ever, while the North Country’s repertoire expands and Potsdam and Amsterdam live up to the legacies of their names. 

The Highest Peak founders Aurora Wood and Kinsey LaPointe (C) The Highest Peak LLC

The Highest Peak: Potsdam

On December 7th, St. Lawrence County received its first adult-use retailer in The Highest Peak, located at 25 Market Street in Potsdam. Also the only women-owned cannabis dispensary in The North Country, the store features a wide variety of products including flower, vapes, and edibles. Co-founders Aurora Wood and Kinsey LaPointe welcomed Potsdam mayor Alexandra Jacobs-Wilke and other local officials to their ribbon-cutting ceremony, in a moment Wood described as both historic and surreal. Find out more at highestpeakny.com.

(C) 420 Bliss

420 Bliss: Troy

Also on December 7th, the Capital Region saw its premiere dispensary open in 420 Bliss, located on 740 Hoosick Road in Troy. Owners Al Attoh, Renee Lindo, and Gregg Little celebrated with a nighttime party. They bring with them experience in the retail, real estate, construction and music industries to the cannabis table. At the grand opening, Attoh told CBS that he thanked the state Social Equity Fund for making the store’s success possible: “If it hadn’t been for the Fund, we would have likely had to take on equity partners, and give up part of the business… The Fund gave us the opportunity to build a business that we can own, one that will last for many years to come.” Find out more by following @420blisstroy on Instagram.

(C) Capital District Cannabis And Wellness, Inc.

Capital District Cannabis And Wellness: Albany

Following the state’s Cannabis Control Board meeting on December 8th, OCM’s officials traveled from Albany’s Empire State Convention Center to Capital District Cannabis and Wellness, located at 997 Central Avenue. Co-owners James Frese and Pasha Adams, longtime friends and Capital Region natives, were honored with a press conference. They pledged their commitment to community service. “It means so much for us to have not just the opportunity to start a new business in our hometown, but to have the support from the state and the community," the retailers said. 

Customers check out Amsterdam Cannabis in Amsterdam, NY on opening day. Screengrab via ABC News.

Amsterdam Cannabis, Inc.: Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam gained its first adult-use dispensary on December 9th in the family-owned Amsterdam Cannabis, Inc., located at 1451 State Highway 5S. Brothers Thomas and Anthony Marcellino estimate that their store opening has created approximately 30 local jobs. Thomas, a former MMA fighter, still does coaching at a gym in the area, while Anthony comes from a background working with the Montgomery County Probation Department. “We've been waiting a long time and we’re just hoping that everything goes smoothly,” Anthony Marcellino told the Daily Gazette, “to be a successful business and to provide a service to people they have been unable to legally receive for years.” Find out more at damcanna.com.

State Senator Jeremy Coony (center) speaks at the grand opening of MJ Dispensary in Rochester (C) MJ Dispensary

MJ Dispensary: Rochester

Tuesday, December 12th saw Rochester’s first permanent retailer launch in the aptly-named MJ Dispensary, located at 900 Jefferson Road. Owner Ryan Martin explained that while there have been Cannabis Growers Showcases in the area since fall, his store is the inaugural adult-use dispensary in the Finger Lakes region. It’s a huge feat since the region has faced the most obstacles, surviving not just the veterans’ injunction but one from a lawsuit in November 2022 as well. The grand opening was attended by State Senator Jeremy Cooney, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Cannabis, who gave MJ Dispensary its first sale. Find out more at mjdispensary585.com.

(C) Premier Earth Corp.

Premier Earth Corp.: Buffalo

Just yesterday on December 13th, Buffalo got its second dispensary in Premier Earth Corp., located at 1297 Hertel Avenue. Owner Joe Wojciechowski expressed excitement for the opening day crowd, noting the wide breadth of his store’s options for consumers. But while optimistic, he remained a little cautious about celebrating too much, telling the local NBC affiliate, “I’m just looking to get through the first year.” Find out more at premierearth.com.

The Firehaus' opening day in Potsdam. Screengrab via ABC News.

The Firehaus: Potsdam

Also on December 13th, Potsdam was honored with a second dispensary opening in The Firehaus, located at 7479 US Route 11. Owner Brian Mandel, a North Country native, built the business entirely with the help of DASNY and the state Social Equity Fund. The store is situated in a busy shopping complex just across from the town’s bustling Walmart, and features an appealing Adirondack theme with photos of historic fire towers and mountains. As the business develops, Mandel plans to use part of the space to showcase Potsdam history. “The idea is a safe place to buy safe cannabis,” he told North Country Now. Find out more by calling 315-261-4021.

(C) Elevate Cannabis

Elevate: Westchester’s First Dispensary Uplifts Mount Vernon

On December 11th, Westchester was uplifted by the debut of Elevate, the first adult-use retailer in the Lower Hudson region. Located at 127 South Terrace Avenue, the store represents a brand that founder John Ruggiero says is dedicated to social equity causes such as “fighting cancer, combating addiction, and contributing to the development of affordable housing in the region.” Ruggiero informed press and visitors that he plans to open additional Elevate locations in the coming months. Find out more at elevatecannabisny.com.

Hush owners Levent Ozkut (left) and Denis Ozkut (right) celebrate the grand opening (C) Hush New York

Hush New York Opens As Second Dispensary In The Bronx

This morning, The Bronx welcomed its second CAURD retailer as Hush New York opened to the public at 2460 Williamsbridge Road. Festivities began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks by several public officials, including Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson and Dasheeda Dawson, Founding Director of Cannabis NYC. They noted that it was important to recognize that over 20 percent of Bronx residents have been criminalized or otherwise adversely affected by the War on Drugs, which makes reclaiming the borough’s history with the plant through the legal space even more significant.

“As a borough president, it’s always important to me to recognize those that are a part of our community,” Gibson asserted. “Those that may have been justice-involved, where we are righting a wrong. Years of disinvestment and years of systemic racism have simply caused many of our communities to be behind, but I am so grateful that we have the opportunity here with Hush to provide a legal dispensary that will provide local jobs, that will stimulate the economy, and will really be a part of our borough.”

Cousins Levent and Denis Ozkurt, the store’s owners, were raring to go. Denis’s father Hal Ozkurt made Hush’s first purchase with a sampling of products from several brands including FlowerHouse, Eureka, and Platinum Reserve. “That’s too much,” he laughed.

“I’m not really good with [public speaking],” Denis said as he addressed the crowd. But he shouted out several other CAURD licensees amid those gathered, as well as many New York cultivators whose brands are now on Hush’s shelves. “We’re just ready to serve the community now, serve it legal and safe,” he concluded triumphantly.

“New York City is thrilled to be back opening dispensaries!” Dawson added as she stepped up to the mic. “We know what the history of criminalization has been and the Bronx has suffered the most out of all the boroughs… It’s exciting to see economic development and see new stores open.”

For more about Hush, visit hushny.com.

Dagmar founder Jennifer Tzar shows off the dispensary uniform, created by a former Christian Dior and Halston designer (C) Dagmar Cannabis

Soho’s New Apothecary-Inspired Dispensary Dagmar Goes Fashion-Forward

Tomorrow, December 15th, Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood gets greener and a lot more fashionable with the debut of Dagmar, located at 412 West Broadway. Founded by veteran fashion photographer and filmmaker Jennifer Tzar, known for her striking portraiture of notables from Snoop Dogg to Ozzy Osbourne to Mary J. Blige, the store will offer customers a luxury shopping experience. Enhanced by a turn-of-the-century apothecary aesthetic, Dagmar will feature perhaps the best-dressed budtenders in Manhattan. Staff members will be outfitted in branded cashmere sweaters and high-waisted pencil skirts and trousers created by a former Christian Dior and Halston designer.

A press conference will kick off the opening ceremonies at 11AM, and will showcase remarks by Tzar, OCM staff members, elected officials, and Dagmar’s team, including a 78-year-old cannabis advocate-turned-budtender. J’adore l’herbe!

Find out more by following @dagmarcannabis on Instagram.

Brooklyn’s First Dispensary Grow Together To Open In Coney Island

Coney Island is where the magic happens. On Tuesday, December 19th, Brooklyn will see the opening of its first-ever adult-use dispensary in Grow Together, located at 2370 Coney Island Avenue. The Black-owned company is founded and operated by local entrepreneur Christopher Ledlum, a justice-involved individual, and his business partner Steven Sapoznik. A press conference with OCM staff and local officials will take place at 11AM. Find out more by following @growtogether.bk on Instagram.

Happy Days Come To Farmingdale, Long Island Just Before Christmas

Happy Days are here again - or they will be for residents of Farmingdale, Long Island when this new dispensary opens on Saturday, December 23rd. Located at 105 Route 109, the store should have plenty of surprises waiting for customers. Plans for the launch celebration are still under wraps. 

What Else Should I Know About New York’s Cannabis Retail Dispensaries?

New York State currently has 35 CAURD licensed cannabis dispensaries open and operating. Click here to visit the OCM’s website for specific information about licenses and regulations. Read below for a list of all CAURD retailers now operating. Remember - if a store's not on this list, it's not legal!

If you have CAURD-related news or other dispensary updates you'd like to share, DM us at @honeysucklemagazine on Instagram or email jaime@honeysucklemag.com.

Housing Works Cannabis, LLC

750 Broadway, New York, NY 10003


Smacked Village

144 Bleecker Street, New York, NY10012


Just Breathe

75 Court Street, Binghamton, NY 13901


Union Square Travel Agency

62 E 13th Street, New York, NY10003


William Jane Corporation

119-121 E State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850


Good Grades, LLC

162-03 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432


Upstate Canna Co

1613 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12309



33 Union Sq. W, New York, NY 10003


Essential Flowers***

Albany, NY



3 E 3rd Street, New York, NY 10003


Elevate ADK

622 Lake Flower Avenue, Suite 7, Saranac Lake, NY 12983


Social Equity CAURD JV LLC***

Richmond Hill, NY


Stage One Cannabis LLC

810C Broadway, Rensselaer, NY 12144


Flynnstoned Corporation

219 Walton Street, Syracuse, NY 13202


Half Island Flavors LLC***

Bronx, NY


Greenery Spot LLC

246 Main Street, Johnson City, NY 13790


Royal Leaf NY LLC (Statis)

817 E Tremont Avenue, Bronx, NY10460


Strain Stars LLC

1815 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735


Exscape INC (Sacred Bloom)

1308 Vestal Pkwy E, 1st Floor, Set D, Vestal, NY 13850


Dank 716 LLC

501 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203


Herbal IQ

6055 Transit Road, Depew, NY 14043


EK Green LLC (dba Canterra)***

Tonawanda, NY 14150


Dosha Farms

76 Main Street, Oneonta, NY 13820


Air City Cannabis LLC***

Rome, NY


Kush Culture Industry LLC (TerpBros)

3610 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, NY 11105


Gotham Buds

248 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027



85 Delancey Street, New York, NY 10002


The Highest Peak LLC

25 Market Street, Potsdam, NY 13676


Premier Earth Corp.

1297 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14216


Capital District Cannabis And Wellness, Inc.

997 Central Avenue, Suite 200, Albany, NY 12205

Humble County LLC (420 Bliss)

740 Hoosick Road, Troy, NY 12180


Amsterdam Cannabis, Inc.

1451 State Highway 5S, Amsterdam, NY 12010


MJ Dispensary

900 Jefferson Road, Suite 902, Rochester, NY 14623


The Firehaus

7479 US Highway 11, Potsdam, NY 13676


127 South Terrace Ave, Mount Vernon, NY 10550


Cannabis Emporium (Hush)

2460 Williamsbridge Road, Fl 1, Bronx, NY 10469


Dagmar Cannabis

412 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012



Featured image: Inside MJ Dispensary's grand opening in Rochester, NY (C) MJ Dispensary