The cannabis industry is a well-known champion of social equality. It is celebrating a victory as the first woman owned dispensary has opened in New York City. Read on to find out more about “Good Grades” and its potential to change the marijuana market.

A selective focus shot of cannabis on a white background

What is the Low Down on the First Woman Owned Dispensary in New York

“Good Grades, the first woman owned dispensary in New York, is in the borough of Queens.

“With the opening of Good Grades in Queens, we’re continuing to build our progress to create a safe, regulated cannabis industry in New York,” NY Governor Kathy Hochul said in a press release on Monday. “New York is working to support entrepreneurs and ensure that consumers can purchase safe, legal products while supporting their communities.”

Good Grades, the first woman owned dispensary in New York, opened as a pop-up store on March 30. It is supported by the New York State Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund which was part of Hochul’s 22-23 budget.

The governor’s office states that the first woman owned dispensary opening as a pop-up presents “the opportunity to open on a short-term basis to fast-track sales, provide training opportunities for employees, and start generating capital for their business.

“After they will close for final construction and then re-open on a long-term basis.”

“I am thrilled to be opening the doors of Good Grades, the very first dispensary in Queens, New York,” said the owner of the first woman owned dispensary in New York, Extasy James.

“We are incredibly passionate about providing greater access to cannabis and breaking down the barriers that prevent so many people, especially those from marginalized communities, from experiencing the benefits of this amazing plant.

“We understand firsthand the stigma that has been attached to cannabis for far too long, and we are eager to join the thriving cannabis community to help change that.

“Our dispensary is a welcoming and inclusive space where anyone can come to learn, explore, and find the products that are best suited to their unique needs,” she went on to say.

About the Marijuana Market in New York

Skyline of downtown New York, New York, USA

The first woman owned dispensary in New York is a sign of the city’s forward movement toward social equity and in promoting the industry in general.

Hochul, the state’s first women governor, has been overseeing the growing New York cannabis market since taking over office. The bill to legalize marijuana in New York was signed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2021.

The state’s first legal dispensary opened late last year in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

Since then, more legal dispensaries have opened their doors. The third legal dispensary opened in the state last month. This is not to be confused with the many illegal dispensaries doing business in New York.

The state is planning to continue expanding its market. Earlier this month, the government announced it would be doubling the amount of cannabis retailer licenses it would be awarding increasing to 300 from 150.

“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry, allowing them to capitalize on the growing demand for cannabis products,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the New York Cannabis Control Board.

“As more businesses enter this market, the innovation and competition will increase, leading to better quality experiences for consumers. The expansion of New York’s cannabis market will benefit everyone involved in this exciting industry,” he went on to say.

Social Equity in the New York Cannabis Market

The first woman owned dispensary in New York is a sign of the state’s support of social equity in the market. This is evident in Hochul’s Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund.

Hochul describes the fund as “a public-private limited partnership that will be formed to position social equity entrepreneurs to succeed in New York’s newly created adult-use cannabis industry.”

It “will allow the state to invest in a private fund to finance the leasing and equipping of up to 150 conditional adult-use retail dispensaries in New York State to be operated by individuals who have been impacted by the inequitable enforcement of marijuana laws.”

Why Social Equity is Important in the Cannabis Market

Closeup of diverse people joining their hands

The first woman owned dispensary in New York is a sign of how the state is supporting social equity in the industry. But other states in the country are taking similar steps.

Social equity is an important issue in the cannabis market as the prohibition of cannabis has adversely impacted people of color.

An analysis of marijuana-related code citations in various states shows that black adults accounted for most cannabis criminal cases despite representing a minority of the population.

Therefore, programs are being launched to ensure that people of color and those with marijuana offenses before legalization are allowed to participate in the industry.

The demand for social equity in the industry is high, and it has been further emphasized by the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against police brutality which is happening all over the country. Many large cannabis companies are talking about “reinvesting in communities” and promoting social equity but whether they will take action remains to be seen.

While many states are enforcing social equity programs, not all have been successful. Issues are mainly due to poor implementation. Advocates are currently looking for ways to improve public policy.

Moves are also being made to reschedule or de-schedule marijuana on the Controlled Substances List.

It is currently considered a Schedule I controlled substance meaning it has a high potential for addiction and few to no medical benefits. People are finding a variety of issues with its current classification not least of which is its violation of “the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment due to its racist history and current enforcement.”

The first woman owned dispensary in New York is a move in the right direction. Hopefully, governments will continue following this trajectory.