First dispensary operated by someone with previous Marijuana conviction to open Tuesday in Manhattan

First dispensary operated by someone with previous Marijuana conviction to open Tuesday in Manhattan

NEW YORK - The second legal marijuana dispensary is opening up in the city on Tuesday.

But this will be the first to go to someone who had a previous marijuana conviction. The store is opening on Bleecker Street, but in this case, so is a lifetime of opportunity.

"It's overwhelming," Roland Conner said. It's overwhelming because Conner has this chance because he served time for a marijuana offense.

"Anytime someone gets locked up, even though they served the time, those stigmas stay with them," Conner said.

However, New York state passed a law that lawmakers say will right a social-justice wrong, and take the victims of the system and give them the first batch of licenses to sell marijuana legally.

"I think everybody deserves a chance. You do your time, you come home, you should be able to get a job, and they should not hold that against you," Conner said. "That's one of the biggest things they have to fix."

In this case, the fix begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. And patrons better be ready. The first legal dispensary in the city opened last month and there were lines around the block.

Conner, in the meantime, will be just the first in a long line of people who will get to open a dispensary.

"This is the first but not the last, so there will be another 149 others that we will get to celebrate," said Bill Thompson, former city comptroller.

City Councilman Christopher Marte said, for him, this is personal.

"When I was a kid, my parents used to tell me to run away from the drug dealers. Turn the other way from anyone who went to prison, you could get shot. But when that drug dealer is your brother, when that person who went to prison is your cousin, and the person shot dead is one of your friends, it's really hard to run away from these things," Marte said.

Conner said he is strengthened by being surrounded by his family, and his wife and son, who will be working with him.

"Your past is not your future, and you're not who you used to be, and I'm just so proud of him," Patricia Conner said.

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Region: New York


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