Nosy Neighbor: Is a cannabis dispensary coming to Harrison?

I got a call last Friday evening from a friend of a friend: “There is a rumor going around Harrison Street that a cannabis dispensary is coming to the gallery space on the corner of Staple.”

I won’t torture you with a long-winded answer: No. I spoke to the owner of the commercial condo at 5 Harrison and his answer is there is *not* a cannabis dispensary going in that space, and while it does seem like a tenant is coming, he did not feel it was within his rights to announce it on their behalf. (Totally fair.)

But before he and I spoke, I tried to figure out what the process is for siting a dispensary — and the process for learning the process is impossible. No one at the newly created New York State Office of Cannabis Management answers the phone or emails. Community Board 1 is similarly frustrated — “We, along with the other boards, are trying to get a better hold on what the process is supposed to look like and how we can be most effective. Generally, there is a great deal of confusion, even with the aspiring operators,” the board office said. When and if applications come down the line, they will go through the Licensing & Permit Committee.

And the board confirmed that they have received no applications for anything at 5 Harrison.

Here’s what I do know:
> The new state Office of Cannabis Management is handing out licenses for adult-use retail dispensaries AND registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor retail dispensaries AND an on-site consumption licensee.
> So far the state has awarded 36 licenses, with 13 in New York City and four in Manhattan.
> The state will award 175 licenses this year.
> Section 76 of the Cannabis Law requires that they notify NYC community boards of their intention at least 30 days BEFORE they file an application

So far we know there are two official dispensaries in the city: Housing Works Cannabis Company on Broadway and Astor Place and the new Smacked at 144 Bleecker. Non-profits and “justice-impacted” individuals are getting first priority for licenses. The Staten Island Advance had this on the Manhattan licensees:

  • Smacked LLC: Based in Manhattan and owned by Roland Conner. For six years Conner owned and operated Advantage Real Estate Group LLC, a property management company. (This amNY story says he was somehow “justice-impacted” and owns it with his wife and son.
  • Gabriel Marin: Based in Manhattan and owned by Gabriel Marin. For three years, Marin owned and operated GAM RENO LLC, a buy, sell, and install business that served residential properties.
  • Planet 51 LLC: Based in Manhattan and owned by Nicholas Koury. For five years, Koury owned and operated Foster House Studios, a recording studio in Albany.
  • Florisun LLC: Based in Manhattan and owned by Keshawn Warner, Richard Rainone, and Christopher Vianelle. For seven years, Warner owned and operated The Pharmacy Harlem @ LLC, a Retail pharmacy and over-the-counter medication sales.


  1. I just wish we didn’t have to endure the skunk smell everywhere. I’d even prefer we go back to cigarette smoke everywhere over the skunk smell that just pervades everything. It gets into our apartment somehow from people smoking on the sidewalk. Nauseating.

  2. So it’s not a legal dispensary, but is it a vape shop??? One would think the landlord would be willing to at least connect the new tenant with the TC for some free publicity / to get the word out to the neighborhood? I’m worried it’s another shady, tacky vape shop located near multiple childcare facilities. Hope I’m wrong…

  3. Don’t you think we all had enough here in New York. There are 1,500 illegal ones here already. We don’t need any on Harrison Street. It brings problems for the area. Just look at Chambers Street.

  4. It will be a nightmare for everyone on Harrison Street and particularly for the Staple Street alley.

  5. Fabulous. That is going to stink up Staple street permanently for children of Washington Market preschool and the neighborhood. The foot traffic of all the vapers and smokers are going to at least chase away the rats from sarabeths garbage?

  6. another one opened on church bw reade and chambers(ease side of street) and its some sort of graffiti all over walls inside and sell snack from around the country and its a front for a weed shop…they hide it behind the curtains at the front desk!! i walked in maybe at 1145pm one night!! Seems legit to me!!! lol

  7. It’s unbelievable to me how badly states like NY and CA have screwed up the legalization of cannabis when places like CO demonstrated exactly how to do it without creating public nuisances on every street or making it so expensive that a new black market develops.

    These “smoke shops” with glowing marijuana leaves and flashing neon lights, many of which are open 24/7, need some serious regulation. I think people have somehow gone nuts and forgotten that cannabis is still a drug that has health risks and can lead to impairment. We regulate the hell out of cigarettes and tobacco, especially in regards to flashy advertising that may appeal to teens, so weed should be AT A MINIMUM held to that standard. And the quality and contents of the products sold in these stores is not properly tested and is all over the place, so there is a serious public health risk on top of quality of life concerns.

    These places selling drugs should look and behave much more like pharmacies, as they do in CO, and not like the seedy sex shops that used to infest Times Square. I cannot believe with the amount of nonsensical regulations in this city over everything down to plastic straws that nothing is in place to monitor these smoke shops.

    • Well said. I have a sister raising a family in CO and it’s safe, regulated, and legal. Not like what you described happening here.

  8. Here’s the mystery for me:
    I thought as a society we are aiming to discourage smoking, because of its disastrous effects on health, not to mention pollution. So why is this same society now normalizing and encouraging other types of smoking? Seems to me we should be discouraging all forms of smoking.

    Marijuana and Lung Health:

    • It’s unfortunately become a political issue. Because of the disgusting historical practices that included lengthy prison sentences for weed, many of which disproportionately affected minority communities, speaking out against weed at all is now seen as a third-rail issue in this city. Weed smokers as a whole are treated like a marginalized group, and this has paralyzed the NYC admin to pass even common sense regulations to ensure public safety.

  9. I’m not at all surprised that several of my “smart”, “sober”, “concerned” neighbors suddenly shake their figurative fist at the sky and start railing about how the “pot shop will ruin the neighborhood” without bothering to read the article to learn that there is NO PLAN FOR SUCH A PLACE ON HARRISON STREET.

  10. The normalization of marijuana is a foolish idea.

    Just one recent article about the health risks:
    “Pot is making people sick. Congress is playing catch-up”

    “Recently a steady flow of data has emerged on the health impacts of marijuana, including emphysema in smokers and learning delays in adolescents.”

    And then there’s this for those who care about street safety (presumably everyone):
    “The percentage of driving deaths involving cannabis has more than doubled from 2000 to 2018”