Westchester’s First Recreational Cannabis Dispensary Opens In Mount Vernon

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Elevate Cannabis Dispensary, located at 127 S. Terrace Ave. in Mount Vernon, held its grand opening on Tuesday, February 20th at 11 am. Evevate, Westchester County’s first recreational dispensary, actually opened on December 5th, following a months-long legal battle that prevented dispensaries across the state from obtaining licenses.

Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, City Council President Cathlin Gleason-Boncardo, and members of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management were among those present at the historic ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Although recreational marijuana has been legal in New York since 2021, the process of granting licenses to dispensaries has been slow. Elevate New York received its license on Dec. 4, and the soft opening followed shortly after a judge approved a settlement to end lawsuits that had hindered the state’s retail marijuana licensing program.

The settlement paves the way for an estimated 436 license holders to continue with their plans to open their businesses, according to The New York Times. While the lawsuits were in progress, the State created a new licensing period where 1,000 additional licenses would be open to applicants who didn’t qualify for the initial round of licensing. It’s expected that at least 40 recreational marijuana dispensaries in New York will be open for business by the end of 2023.

“What’s particularly heartening is not just seeing these stores open, but seeing who is operating them. Before the end of the year, we will have 12 Black-owned dispensaries operating and 5 Hispanic-owned dispensaries. Considering the national landscape, where Black and brown ownership of cannabis is exceedingly rare, I am incredibly proud of this result. This isn’t just about numbers; it’s a clear indication of our dedication to creating a more equitable and inclusive cannabis industry,” New York State Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander said in a press release.

About 20 percent of recreational cannabis dispensaries in New York are majority Black-owned while that number goes down to less than 0.2 percent when calculating all U.S. dispensaries.

Elevate Cannabis Dispensary in Mount Vernon won’t be the last recreational dispensary in Westchester NY. You’ll likely see more popping up soon as the following cities have voted to allow the sale of cannabis, according to the Yonkers Times as of April 1, 2023:

  • Mount Vernon
  • New Rochelle
  • Pound Ridge
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • White Plains

The following Westchester County has passed laws preventing the sale of cannabis as of April 1, 2023:

  • Ardsley
  • Dobbs Ferry
  • Eastchester
  • Elmsford
  • Harrison
  • Irvington
  • Larchmont
  • Lewisboro
  • Mamaroneck Town
  • Mamaroneck Village
  • Mount Kisco
  • Mount Pleasant
  • New Castle
  • North Castle
  • North Salem
  • Pelham Manor
  • Pleasantville
  • Port Chester
  • Rye City
  • Rye Brook
  • Somers
  • Tuckahoe
  • Yorktown

Elevate is planning a 420 Concert Festival, to be held on April 20 at Memorial Field in Mount Vernon. Panel discussions and music are among the plans for the annual event.

The new dispensary is open seven days a week, offering a variety of adult-use cannabis products from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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