A Pivotal Purchase for Grand Opening of Woman-owned Dispensary in New York

A Pivotal Purchase for Grand Opening of Woman-owned Dispensary in New York

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards broke stereotypes with a pivotal transaction.

Good Grades cannabis dispensary celebrated its opening in New York on Thursday, kicking off business with the first purchase from Richards.

According to NBC News, Michael James Jr., co-owner of the shop located on Jamaica Avenue, said Richards’ purchase marked a pivotal moment for the start of the business.

“It was very ideal, and I think it killed a lot of stereotypes,” Extasy James, the shop’s other co-owner, said.

“It was so refreshing, and it was so fulfilling, and it was rewarding,” she said about the “high-energy” grand opening. “I also felt a lot of love, and that’s more important. Not just from family and friends, but also from the staff, from security, from everyone.”

The dispensary is a source of economic prosperity for Black and brown neighborhoods such as Jamaica, Queens, which lies at the center of three police precincts. Reportedly, most African American and Latino communities had “historically faced disproportionate cannabis criminalization until recreational cannabis was legalized in 2021.”

“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,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in an announcement. “New York is working to support entrepreneurs and ensure that consumers can purchase safe, legal products while supporting their communities.”

Good Grades is supported by the New York State Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, a public-private partnership providing renovated retail locations.

The James cousins got their license through the state’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary license program. “We want to inspire the community that there are second chances and that dreams can come true,” the woman entrepreneur said. “Anything is possible.”

Good Grades has marked multiple historical moments with the shop’s opening, being among the first six retail dispensaries in New York state, the first to open in Queens, and the first woman-owned dispensary to be financially supported by the state’s social equity investment fund.