4/20 Exclusive: Legal Cannabis in New York City

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On a bright and unseasonably warm April 20, 2021 in New York City, you could stand in a blocks-long line and wait for a free joint in Union Square as police watched and did nothing. Or you could dip into a particular rathskeller on Broad Street in the Financial District, within throwing distance of the New York Stock Exchange. Underground, Vladimir Bautista and Ramon Reyes were working the room at their “coming back” party. If nearby, you likely caught a whiff of what they believe the next 4/20, and every other day in the not-so-distant future, will look like in a post-legalization New York. Two friends from Uptown with Dominican roots who love weed, Bautista and Reyes had a conversion after Reyes visited Amsterdam and its cannabis coffee shops. Already “involved” with cannabis in that familiar gray-area kind of way, they decided to open up an Amsterdam-style coffee shop in New York. But there was a slight problem: this was before March 31, 2021, so cannabis was illegal.  Undaunted, in 2017 the pair launched Happy Munkey, which for tax purposes is a New York City cannabis-inspired lifestyle brand and registered state LLC. For practical purposes, Happy Munkey was one of New York City’s pre-legalization marijuana speakeasies.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Happy Munkey (@happymunkeygoodies) //www.instagram.com/embed.js Happy Munkey was essentially an Amsterdam-style cannabis coffee shop, located a short walk from Times Square and the new luxury high-rise apartments at Hudson Yards. To get in, you had to know somebody, or you had to know Happy Munkey existed—which, given the gift of Instagram, wasn’t particularly challenging.  However, an inevitable visit from the police followed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic six months later put…

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Source : 4/20 Exclusive: Legal Cannabis in New York City

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