David Polley, a seasoned legacy operator with over a decade of cultivation experience, embarked on a new venture in 2015, founding Preferred Gardens in California. This innovative cannabis cultivation company, which identifies as one of the nation’s only mom-and-pop multistate operators, is set to launch its products in Staten Island on Friday February 16th, marking a significant milestone in its journey.

Preferred Gardens will celebrate its New York launch at The Flowery, the borough's first dispensary which opened barely a month ago. The store, operated by Shlomo Weinstock and Mohammed "Mo" Elgaly, is special for being the state's inaugural Jewish-Muslim pair to operate a licensed cannabis retailer.

(C) Preferred Gardens

The Flowery and Preferred Gardens collaborate on a drop in Staten Island.

Weinstock and Elgaly’s store is the first out-of-state expansion for The Flowery, a family-owned grow operation based in Florida. The upcoming Preferred Gardens drop in Staten Island is a testament to the strong relationship between the two brands; Polley explains that he and the founders of The Flowery have a longstanding collaboration that spans several years.

“A mutual friend recommended me as a consultant to design their grow facility,” says Polley. “In the Florida market… you have to have owned a nursery for 30 years to apply for [cultivation] licensing, which they did… They didn’t know as much about cultivating cannabis in the beginning, but they wanted to build a nice facility. So they contacted me and that’s kind of my forte. I like designing grows, because I know what works. Then when I went down there, the guys were amazing. I really clicked with them. It has worked out from there.”

Preferred Gardens founder David Polley (C) Preferred Gardens

Preferred Gardens cultivates cannabis like no other brand!

What sets Preferred Gardens apart is Polley and his team’s unique approach to cultivation. Specializing in large-scale, mixed-light greenhouse production and indoor cannabis cultivation, they pride themselves on culture, quality control, consistency, and affordable strain selections. Their assortment holds over 260 strains, all bred or pheno-hunted from seed, distinguishing them from nurseries. This makes them one of the largest genetics libraries in the Greater Sacramento area, and one of the only legacy-to-legal operators utilizing mixed-light as a prominent practice.

Inside the Preferred Gardens cultivation facility (C) Preferred Gardens

David Polley’s vision for Preferred Gardens is all about building community around accessible cannabis. 

Polley's vision for Preferred Gardens focuses on providing access to quality cannabis products while also building a community. His team is exceptionally important to him, and he believes their commitment to cultivating each plant with the proper attention and care is what makes the difference in their products.

“We just put in a ton of effort organically,” he mentions, “because our branding is based on a team of friends and we're smokers and family that goes and throws these events. Alex and Mike are good friends of mine; and they run a retail operation. My wife Nicki pretty much runs the company other than the cultivation stuff [which is my area]. Phil directing marketing and photography. Nate in charge of cinematography and blogging. Blaine helps us with events. Tony is my best friend. I grew up with him, cultivating back in 2005, and now we’re just doing the brand stuff together.”

(C) Preferred Gardens

An inside look at the development of Preferred Gardens’s cultivation process. 

Their specialty is in developing palates for great tasting and effective cultivars. “Lots of R&D, lots of taste-testing,” Polley laughs. “And with other states [Preferred is currently in Arizona and Florida as well as its native California], we obviously can’t grow every plant ourselves. I wish I could. But I’m partnering with people like The Flowery, who can understand quality to the highest levels. That’s where the out-of-state partnerships work. It’s all based on QC - Quality Control.”

The entrepreneur’s knack for Quality Control started with his success in the medical market. "Cannabis is medicine,” Polley says. “It's a natural thing." He personally uses cannabis for medicinal purposes rather than recreationally, underscoring his commitment to the plant's therapeutic benefits. “It’s always been medical-driven to me… My strains are more focused on medical use, so I choose to launch under my brand more medicinal strains… I just think of it as medicine no matter what.”

The environment of the legacy market has also influenced Polley's personal and professional growth, driving him to create a brand that reflects his values and beliefs. There’s a little something of that to be seen in the Preferred Gardens strains that will be exclusive to The Flowery, such as Snackz - a Chauffeur x Runtz cross with some Zkittlez lineage that has a sweet profile New Yorkers will love.

On doing business in the Empire State for the first time, Polley comments, “We come with respect, and I think we can all see eye-to-eye and relate to the plant. This industry is always a lot more open to partnerships and business relationships [than other sectors]. It’s like the big smoke circle throughout the world.”

How Preferred Gardens’ upcoming launch in Staten Island supports the evolution of cannabis legalization. 

Preferred Gardens' upcoming launch in Staten Island is not just a milestone for the company but also a testament to the evolving landscape of cannabis legalization and consumption. As they continue to expand their operations, one thing remains clear: Preferred Gardens is not just a cannabis brand; it's a symbol of quality, community, and a personal journey.

Preferred Gardens' New York launch takes place Friday, February 16, 2024 at The Flowery, 3022 Veterans Road in Staten Island. For more about Preferred Gardens, visit preferredgardens.com or follow @preferred_gardens on Instagram.


Written By:

Kally Compton (They/Them/She/Her) is a culture writer, poet, and content creator. Based in New York, they currently write and contribute to various culture, cannabis, and fashion publications. They are the former Editorial and Production Director for The Lexington Line, LIM College's culture and fashion magazine.

For more information, follow her at @kallycompton.

@kallycompton (IG)


Find Out More On Social










David Polley 

Kally Compton


Featured image: The Preferred Gardens team, with founders David and Nicki Polley in the center (C) Preferred Gardens