Officials hope Dutchess County's 1st legal recreational dispensary can help improve downtown Poughkeepsie

Two weeks after its soft opening, shop managers say Black Market Canna Co. is building a buzz on social media as the Dutchess County's only legal recreational cannabis dispensary and receiving increased foot traffic.

Ben Nandy

Apr 11, 2024, 9:19 PM

Updated 37 days ago

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Poughkeepsie business and political leaders are hoping a new dispensary can boost business and social life downtown.
Two weeks after its soft opening, shop managers say Black Market Canna Co. is building a buzz on social media as the Dutchess County's only legal recreational cannabis dispensary and receiving increased foot traffic.
The 10-person team wants to take advantage of their location on Main Street near the Poughkeepsie train station - the Metro-North's Hudson Line's final stop going north from New York City.
"We put some flyers down there with a QR code to give them GPS straight over here," shift manager Iyana Jackson said.
"We get a lot of decent foot traffic," Black Market marketing manager Tyshon Johnson said during News 12's visit to the shop Wednesday.
Johnson said that over the last seven months, some staff had doubts as to whether the shop would actually open.
A group of disabled veterans and other dispensary license applicants sued the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, arguing its social justice licensing policy was unconstitutional.
The policy awarded the first 400-plus licenses to applicants who were previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses.
An injunction issued in state Supreme Court in August froze the licensing process and blocked any new dispensaries from opening.
A resolution was reached, which included that all new social justice applicants would have to wait until April 1 for their applications to be processed and other applicants would be given priority.
"I think – the partners – we discussed the possibilities of what was going on, and you know, and it was taking a lot longer than we wanted it to," Johnson said. "We stayed fast, and I'm just glad that we're here now."
Staff members are not the only ones who are relieved.
"It's been a long time coming," said City Council Member Evan Menist, who represents downtown.
Menist and other city leaders are excited about the building being used for the first time in more than 10 years, the potential for new foot traffic, and the money.
State laws on cannabis sales taxation differ from laws on sales of most other products, giving municipalities a greater share of the tax revenue.
Menist said the city stands to gain tax revenue and be eligible for more grant money for community projects like municipalities in other states have done.
"We're hoping to see the same thing here in Poughkeepsie," he said.
Businesses along Main Street are already planning to collaborate with Black Market on cannabis-related products and to cross-promote.
"We're right by Route 9," said Chris Gannon, owner of Dutch Crown Pizzeria & Pub. "So a lot of people will pass by and realize, 'Oh, there's a dispensary right there,' come check it out, and hopefully come get a beer and pizza too."
Just 103 licensed dispensaries are operating in the state during a rollout the Office of Cannabis Management promised to expedite during Thursday's meeting of the Cannabis Control Board.
Experts working for the state have said the market may be able to sustain between 1,500 and 2,000 dispensaries.
Black Market's grand opening is scheduled for April 20.


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