March 21, 2023

Smacked Village owner Roland Conner is New York’s first dispensary owner with a cannabis conviction. After his new pop-up store becomes permanent, Conner plans to pass the store down to his son.

New York’s mission to roll out the most equitable cannabis industry in the country continues today with the opening of Smacked Village in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Smacked Village is a pop-up store set to reopen later this year—and the first of many be operated by an owner with a previous cannabis conviction.

Eduardo Whittington is the co-founder of Lobo Cannagars. Here he poses with his products at Smacked Village in New York. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
Eduardo Whittington, co-founder of Lobo Cannagars, which are for sale in both of New York’s legal dispensaries. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Located at 144 Bleecker Street, Smacked will open its doors to adults 21 and over starting at 11 a.m. today. The store will be New York’s second legal recreational cannabis store. Officials said there are more than 1,200 unlicensed stores currently serving the city’s gray market.

Smacked Village’s legal products will include pre-roll joints from Lobo Cannagars, eighths from Flower House New York’s local farms, and Beak and Siff’s Ayrloom vapes, edibles and sparkling beverages. The soft opening, or pop-up launch, means the store will only remain open for the next month before closing to renovate and reopen later this year.

Leafly will be in line to shop and share reviews of the menu and experience throughout the day.

Smacked Village is owned by ‘justice-involved’ New Yorker

New York regulators announce Smacked Village soft-launch on January 23, 2023. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
Chris Alexander, New York’s lead cannabis regulator, was all smiles at the press conference announcing Smacked Village. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Roland Conner, the owner of Smacked, is among New York’s first 36 official licensees out of hundreds. New York dispensary owners must have past New York weed-related convictions (among other requirements) to open a legal dispensary through the state’s Conditional Adult-Use Recreational Dispensary (CAURD) program. Some New York nonprofits are also eligible for retail dispensary licenses.


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New York cannabis office Executive Director Chris Alexander, joined Conner to celebrate New York’s second legal weed store. Chris Webber and Lavetta Willis, managers of the state’s social equity fund were also in attendance.

New York dispensary applicant Dorian (left) and basketball legend Chris Webber (right) pose for cameras at press event smiling. The state enlisted Webber’s firm Social Equity Impact Ventures to help raise private capital for its new dispensaries. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
New York dispensary applicant Dorian (left) and basketball legend Chris Webber (right). The state enlisted Webber’s firm Social Equity Impact Ventures to help raise private capital for its new dispensaries. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

After the first 175 CAURD stores open, New York will open more application windows. Many applicants were in the building to support Conner. CAURD applicants from across the state have formed a group to share information and encouragement.

Housing Works, New York’s first licensed dispensary, opened December 29, 2022. The nonprofit is one of the 25 state-licensed organizations with a history of serving individuals harmed by the War on Drugs that also meet the states CAURD criteria.


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Conner was brought to tears when he first saw the Smacked building, according to Mike Wilson of Temeka Group, the company tasked with designing and building out all of New York’s dispensaries. For both the pop-up and the new store, the group plans to use its experience building out existing dispensaries for Cookies and Stiiizy, in addition to creating the Grammy Museum building and the Lakers’ team store.

Inside New York's second legal weed store, Smacked Village on Bleecker Street, press and industry players gathered to celebrate history. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

New York’s social equity fund has been a hot topic in the industry. The state plans to raise $150 million to help start up its first wave of dispensaries. The social equity fund will be combined with an allocated $50 million from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2023 state budget to be used for training programs, store build outs, and forgivable business loans supporting new CAURD dispensaries.

All eyes on New York’s legacy pioneers

New York cannabis legend Branson poses for cameras at Smacked Village press conference January 23, 2023. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
Legacy cannabis leader Branson, who inspired dozens of iconic rap lyrics about weed and the Dave Chappelle character Samson from stoner cult classic ‘Half Baked.’ (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Leafly talked to cannabis pioneer Branson about his plans to extend his rich legacy into the legal industry. He’s currently partnered with Cookies to bring the iconic triangle bags he once flooded New York with back into circulation. He’s also getting support from the state’s cannabis office to become a licensed operator with his own storefront. Branson, and Smacked Village’s owner Roland Conner are two of the many legacy players poised to make noise in New York’s promising legal weed industry.


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Here’s a preview of Smacked Village’s cannabis brands

Ayrloom cannabis beverages sit on display for sale at Smacked Village in New York City. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Ayrloom vapes and beverages are poised to be best-sellers. Smacked Village will also carry eighths of bud from Flower House and Florist Farms. Theory’s edibles will also be available.

Flower House New York cannabis for sale in Smacked Village New York. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Shoppers can buy pre-rolls from Lobo Cannagars world-famous pre-rolls. Eduardo Whittington, aka Eddie Lobo, runs multi-state company, Lobo Cannagar, and hopes to receive a license to manufacture cannabis products in his home state of New Jersey’s adult-use market soon. For now, he’s partnered with local New York growers to become one of the first products on shelves at retail dispensaries.

Lobo Cannagars' high-end box of pre-rolled cannabis on display at Smacked Village New York dispensary. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
Lobo Cannagars’ high-end box of pre-rolled cannabis on display at Smacked Village New York dispensary. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

In 2022, Whittington told Leafly that Lobo Cannagar’s business model is unique for a multinational cannabis operation. The company doesn’t grow cannabis or sell it out of its own stores. Instead, it partners with the best possible operators in each market to collaborate on hand-rolled bangers that leave an impression on whoever hits them.

“I run my business this way because there is no national cannabis yet,” Whittington explained. “Each state has its own kind of rules and regulations, like a fiefdom with little lords ruling over their states,” he said. The fractured industry presented a lane for Lobo to become a non-plant touching business that glides across borders with relative ease. As more markets come online, the model should continue to thrive.

How Dutchie will power New York dispensary sales

Dutchie point of sale equipment will be used at Smacked Village and all other New York retail dispensaries. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
Dutchie point of sale equipment will be used at Smacked Village and all other New York retail dispensaries. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

New York selected Canadian cannabis technology platform Dutchie to provide free POS services to social equity dispensaries. Anne Forkutza, Dutchie’s head of market expansions, told Leafly that the company has been hosting educational seminars to teach license holders the basics of running a retail operation, in addition to providing the backend technology for all transactions.

Dutchie will supply the tablets, registers, and user experiences for every New York dispensary for the time being. The company specializes in back-end data flow and processes that help weed stores in 36 US markets, as well as Canada-based dispensaries.

Concentrates, edibles, and beverages

Products on display at Smacked Village. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Smacked Village’s menu will include a bevy of items that New Yorkers are searching high and low for. High-quality, consistent, and safe edibles should sell like hot cakes, no matter the cost. Housing Works has had trouble keeping their gummies on shelves despite much more affordable options being available across the city. How do we know? We stopped by three separate times this month hoping to grab New York’s first legal THC-infused gummies. So far, we’ve been close, but no cigar — all of the Florist Farms edibles were sold out. At Smacked, cart smokers should appreciate having regulated options, even if they cost a pretty penny.

This story will be updated with prices, product reviews, and more from day one at Smacked Village.

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