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Queens’ First Legal Cannabis Dispensary to Open This Week

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Queens’ first legal cannabis dispensary will open at 162-03 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica on Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday.

The New York State Cannabis Social Equity Fund — the investment group charged with leasing space for New York’s marijuana sellers — signed a 10-year deal for 4,000 square feet in the three-story building, according to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY). Dispensary Good Grades — which will be the first legal cannabis store owned by a woman — will open at the site as a pop-up.

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Good Grades will be run by Extasy James and her cousin Michael James Jr. “on a short-term basis” before temporarily closing to finish construction on the storefront, according to Hochul. 

DASNY, which found the space, declined to comment on how long the pop-up would operate or the asking rent in the deal. The space is on a stretch of Jamaica Avenue near 162nd Street, one block north of York College and three blocks east of Rufus King Park.

“With the opening of Good Grades in Queens, we’re continuing to build on our progress to create a safe, regulated cannabis industry in New York,” Hochul said in a statement. “New York is working to support entrepreneurs and ensure that consumers can purchase safe, legal products while supporting their communities.”

It was not clear who brokered the deal. Landlord 162nd Street Realty could not be reached for comment, and the property’s manager, Hazan Management, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Good Grades marks the fourth recreational dispensary to open in New York City, after Housing Works Cannabis Company debuted in December, and comes as the state tries to crack down on an illegal market that sprung up in storefronts all over the city.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent 400 letters warning illegal shops it would force their landlords to evict them in February, and last week Hochul proposed fining those sellers as much as $200,000 for possessing illegal cannabis.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.