On Tax Day, April 15, 2024, Long Island’s acclaimed adult-use retailer Strain Stars made waves ahead of the 420 holiday by announcing a groundbreaking initiative aimed at empowering communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and incarceration. In partnership with the Long Island nonprofit New Hour, Strain Stars unveiled a multifaceted program designed to provide support, job and career development opportunities, and hope to those affected by the War on Drugs.

At a Tax Day press conference, amidst celebrating their contribution of over $1 million in local taxes to the Town of Babylon, Strain Stars introduced a scholarship program tailored specifically for children of women who have been impacted by cannabis prohibition and subsequent incarceration. This initiative is a poignant acknowledgment of the lasting effects of policies that have disproportionately affected marginalized communities, particularly women and their families.

What Is Strain Stars? Long Island's Premier Adult-Use Cannabis Retailer

Strain Stars, located at 1815 Broadhollow Road in Farmingdale, was Long Island’s first state-licensed cannabis dispensary to open. Headed by siblings Yuvraj Singh and Jasmin Kaur, the business is known nationally for its remarkable sales figures exceeding $60 million since July 2023. Now, with the New Hour scholarship and other programs, Strain Stars is leveraging its success to address the injustices wrought by decades of misguided drug policies. Central to their efforts is a comprehensive job and career development program aimed at offering opportunities within the legal cannabis industry to formerly incarcerated women. By providing education, retail training, and professional development, Strain Stars seeks to not only offer employment but also to foster long-term economic empowerment and stability.

More than just a business, this family-owned and operated establishment embodies a commitment to community and social responsibility. For three generations, the team behind Strain Stars has worked tirelessly to build not only a successful cannabis retail operation but also a platform for positive change.

What Did Strain Stars' Owner Jasmin Kaur Say About Partnering With New Hour?

Owner Jasmin Kaur said during the press conference, “Tax Day isn’t always a celebration for entrepreneurs like me, but when we get to celebrate over a million dollars in sales tax revenues for Babylon and launch a new scholarship, I’m certainly smiling on April 15. Long Islanders have embraced our store, they’ve embraced cannabis, and we’re here to embrace the community. Whether it’s tax revenue or our new scholarship fund for children who have been impacted by incarceration and cannabis prohibition, we’re here to give back to Long Island. Thank you, Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, [New York State Office of Cannabis Management] Executive Director Chris Alexander, and New Hour’s [Executive Director] Serena Martin-Ligouri for supporting our announcement today.”

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer speaks at the press conference announcing the Strain Stars-New Hour partnership. (C) Strain Stars

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer And New Hour Executive Director Serena Martin-Ligouri Talk Strain Stars' Impact On Long Islanders

The press conference was attended by a number of state and local officials, executives from Strain Stars and New Hour, and supportive Long Islanders. For his part, Babylon’s Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer stated, “After one meeting with the Strain Stars family, any trepidation I had regarding allowing cannabis dispensaries to operate in the Town of Babylon was gone. They were forward thinking. They had thought through all of the ins-and-outs… They offer great paying jobs and I'm pretty happy that the Town is getting tax revenue checks from the state that are going directly back into all of the services we provide, including the Beacon Family Wellness Center, which provides job training and life coaching to those who need help getting back on their feet.”

New Hour, which is the leading provider of reentry services for women, draws inspiration from its Executive Director Serena Martin-Ligouri’s own story of rebuilding a life after prison. At the press conference, the award-winning activist remarked, “As someone who created the groundwork for New Hour in 2015, I came home from prison at 22 years old and there was nothing on Long Island for women or girls who were impacted by incarceration. Now thanks to our partnership with Strain Stars there is something. I’m so grateful to Strain Stars because without employment you aren’t getting far in life.”

Why Is Strain Stars' Commitment To Education And Career Development Important?

The significance of the Strain Stars and New Hour partnership initiative extends beyond mere financial support. Strain Stars recognizes the transformative power of education in breaking cycles of inequality and injustice. Therefore, alongside their job development program, the retailer has also established a $100,000 annual scholarship fund dedicated to supporting the higher education aspirations of children whose mothers have been impacted by cannabis prohibition and incarceration.

This commitment to education is deeply personal for Strain Stars' leadership. Kaur and Singh, both alumni of CUNY-Baruch College, understand firsthand the transformative impact of accessible education. By providing scholarships, they aim to ensure that children affected by the War on Drugs have the opportunity to pursue their academic goals and fulfill their potential.

T. Gordon, a New Hour community member and a recently-hired Strain Stars employee, spoke about the meaningful effects she is already experiencing from the partnership: “In the little bit of time I’ve been with Strain Stars, it’s made an incredible impact on my life. As a child of a mother incarcerated for the sale of cannabis, if she had an opportunity like working at Strain Stars, she wouldn’t have been in that situation. I’ve been able to come here and feel like family. I’m looking forward to a great and successful career with Strain Stars.”

What's Next For Strain Stars? Beyond Building The Nation's Most Profitable Dispensary

OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander was enthusiastic about the prospects of the program. “I’ve been incredibly encouraged by this story,” he declared at the press conference. “The Strain Stars family, you have no idea how important this has been, how you’ve succeeded, how important that is for the Town, State and Country. This is not just the most successful financial retail dispensary in the state of New York, it’s the most profitable dispensary in the country.”

In a landscape where profit often takes precedence over social impact, Strain Stars' initiative stands as a beacon of hope and progress. By investing in education, employment, and empowerment, they are not only reshaping the narrative surrounding cannabis but also championing equity and justice in their community.

As Strain Stars paves the way for a more inclusive and equitable cannabis industry, their actions serve as a reminder of the transformative power of compassion, empathy, and collective action. In partnership with organizations like New Hour and with the support of their local community, they are forging a path towards a future where the harms of the War on Drugs are acknowledged, addressed, and ultimately overcome.

Strain Stars is located at 1815 Broadhollow Road in Farmingdale, NY. For more information, visit strainstarsny.com. To learn more about New Hour, visit newhourli.org.


Written By:

Jaime Lubin is Honeysuckle's Editor-At-Large. Her writing has appeared in HuffPost, Observer, Billboard and more. Also an actress and singer, she can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

@jaimelubin (IG)

@jaimelubin (Twitter)


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Yuvraj Singh

New Hour

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Office of Cannabis Management

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Town of Babylon

Rich Schaffer

Aaron Ghitelman

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Featured image: Strain Stars and New Hour teams gather in Long Island for a press conference announcing their partnership initiatives. (C) Strain Stars