You can now add the Bronx to the list of boroughs where New Yorkers can buy adult-use cannabis from a state licensed dispensary.

At exactly 4:20 p.m. on Thursday Statis, the first licensed cannabis dispensary in the Bronx, began selling cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia following a ceremony celebrating its grand opening.

What You Need To Know

  • Statis is the first licensed cannabis dispensary to open in the Bronx

  • A celebration of the grand opening of the dispensary included officials from the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, which is leading the effort to kick start New York’s legal cannabis industry

  • Statis began selling cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia to the public at exactly 4:20 p.m. on Thursday

Co-founder Emely Chavez said the day has been a long time coming.

“We’re the first female and minority-owned dispensary in the Bronx,” she said.

For Chavez’s business partner and co-founder, Angel Turuseta, a Bronx native, the opening of the East Tremont Avenue facility was a full circle moment.

“Unfortunately, he was arrested back when he was younger for the use of marijuana,” she said.

That arrest led to Turuseta serving two years in prison on drug charges.

The State’s Office of Cannabis Management requires at least one owner of an approved dispensary to be “justice involved.”

That means they have to have been convicted on a marijuana-related charge, have a spouse, parent, child or dependent — or be the dependent of someone who was convicted — before the state legalized cannabis in 2021.

It’s of the state’s effort to address disparities created by the so-called “War On Drugs.”

“That’s a commitment to true equity,” Chris Alexander, the Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management, said. “As I say, all the time equity is not a thing, it’s the thing. It’s what drives us, it’s what guides us and frankly, it’s what we’re accountable to.”

Despite the fanfare, stakeholders know there will be challenges.

Among them, opponents of licensed cannabis dispensaries.

“The issue is that the drugs are in this community, the issue is that every corner that you got to you see nothing but individuals under the influence and this is just going to add to that,” Jose A Padilla Jr., a lone protester outside of the dispensary Thursday, said.

The cannabis black market is also a challenge.

The City Council estimates that there are about 1,500 illegal smoke shops citywide. Critics argue that not only do they undercut the legal weed industry and potentially expose the public to dangerous substances, but they’ve become a magnet for robberies.

Recently the state and city has stepped up crackdowns on illegal smoke shops.

Statis General manager Brandon Bianco said their dispensary can offer customers something the black market cannot.  

“The amount of tracking from seed to sale that we offer is just completely different than anything else,” Bianco said.

“All our product is home grown, meaning that it’s from New York State. It’s highly regulated, highly tested,” Chavez said.