NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2023 – PRESS RELEASE – Governor Kathy Hochul announced Feb. 8 that the first Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licenses in the Southern Tier will open in Binghamton. The opening of the store advances New York State’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative and the state’s goals of equity in cannabis licensing, which prioritizes providing licenses to justice-involved individuals who are people with a cannabis conviction or a close relative of someone with one, and non-profits that serve justice-involved individuals. The planning board in Binghamton gave its final approval yesterday evening, clearing the way for the store to open Feb. 10.
“With the opening of new dispensaries like Just Breathe in Binghamton, we continue to expand the nation’s most equitable and inclusive cannabis industry here in New York,” Hochul said. “New York remains committed to supporting independent business dispensary owners, New York farmers who poured their heart into their harvest, and every adult who wants to enjoy legally purchased cannabis in and from the Empire State.”
The dispensary opening in Binghamton, Just Breathe at 75 Court Street, will be owned and operated by a partnership between an experienced local entrepreneur, Damien Cornwell, and the Non-Profit Broome County Urban League. Cornwell has helped to spearhead initiatives with the BCUL, providing justice-involved individuals with resources, education and pathways to careers over the past two decades. The store will open in the same location as a currently licensed cannabinoid hemp retailer, which has successfully been introducing cannabis-derived products, such as CBD oil and flower, to the community since 2020. A first in the Southern Tier, the licensed dispensary will open for customers in the heart of a revitalized Binghamton downtown with products sourced from farmers in the area and across New York State. The store will open for public sales at 3 p.m. on Feb. 10, with regular operating hours of 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday; 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday, and 12 p.m.- 9 p.m. Saturday.
Chair of the Cannabis Control Board Tremaine Wright said, “New York States Cannabis Industry is growing, and by empowering local non-profits and individuals harmed by prohibition, we’re showing the nation how to establish an equitable and fair cannabis industry. The Seeding Opportunity Initiative launched by Governor Hochul last year has enabled us to continue to expand our reach, bringing opportunities to diverse communities across the state. We’re creating jobs, spurring economic growth, and providing access to quality cannabis products and education across the state.”
Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management Chris Alexander said, “Whenever Governor Hochul announces the opening of a new adult-use cannabis dispensary, a smile grows on my face, and with this store set to open soon, my grin is ear-to-ear. We have created an equitable cannabis supply chain that benefits everyone in New York who chooses to partake, either as a customer or an entrepreneur. This is only the beginning, and more great things are to come.”
President and CEO of the Broome County Urban League Jennifer Lesko said, “The legalization of marijuana presents an economic opportunity for all New York residents, and The Broome County Urban League is excited to be a part of it. The potential of this industry is vast, and unlike anything we have ever seen. Our mission has always been to help people become gainfully employed, and this industry can do just that. Specifically, it can change the economic landscape of Broome County, and we are certainly proud to be part of this promising future.”
Partner in Just Breathe, Damien Cornwell, said, “I am thrilled and honored to bring legal, safe, and locally sourced products to my community. The economic opportunities presented by this business in the form of new jobs and local tax revenue just build on the decades of work we’ve done with the Broome County Urban League to uplift the underserved communities in our area. ‘Just Breathe’ will offer, for the first time ever here in the Southern Tier, a safe and regulated place to buy cannabis.”
State Senator Liz Krueger said, “Every new cannabis retailer opening in New York is a step closer to our goal of creating a thriving adult-use market, one that centers equity and the small businesses that build prosperity and anchor our communities. This has already been an exciting year for the rollout of this program, with so much more to come.”
State Senator Lea Webb said, “I am proud that my district and the City of Binghamton will be home to the first adult-use cannabis dispensary to open its doors in Upstate New York. I want to offer a warm welcome to Just Breathe and a heartfelt congratulations to Damien Cornwell for this important milestone. New York’s budding cannabis industry is built on principles of equity and we look forward to the economic growth and new jobs that this industry will bring to our community.”
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “I am pleased that Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries continue to open their doors. The time, energy, and investments made at all levels of the supply chain are beginning to be realized and these entrepreneurs are poised to pave the way for New York to be the nation’s leading equitable, safe, and thriving cannabis marketplace. I look forward to the day when all communities desiring to allow retail cannabis sales within its borders are similarly welcoming dispensary openings, but I am frustrated some regions of the state are at a disadvantage due to the ongoing injunction prohibiting CAURD licenses in these areas.”
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “Years of hard work are finally coming to fruition in the City of Binghamton; site of the first adult-use cannabis dispensary to open in Upstate NY. We are committed to establishing a safe, legal system that supports NY’s agricultural producers and social equity partners. It’s fitting that Just Breathe is opening in partnership with the Broome County Urban League; an organization wholly dedicated to economic and social justice.”
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, “Having this retail store in Broome County will help farmers and provide revenue for the County that supports critical services we provide for our residents. I appreciate the Governor’s work to ensure that this industry is safe and reliable for consumers, while also supporting local business owners.”
Binghamton Mayor Jared M. Kraham said, “Binghamton is proud to lead the way on the legal cannabis industry in Upstate New York. With the first licensed dispensary outside New York City set to open in downtown Binghamton, our community is ready to maximize the opportunity for new jobs, community investments and continued revitalization of our urban core. Thanks to Governor Hochul and OCM for their work to bring the cannabis industry to New York State.”
Governor Hochul announced the opening of the first entrepreneur Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary license in New York State in January. Prior to that, the first licensed dispensary in the state, operated by the non-profit Housing Works, opened in late December. The CAURD license is a central pillar of the New York State Seeding Opportunity Initiative. Through the Initiative, New York’s first legal adult-use retail dispensaries will be operated by those most impacted by the enforcement of the prohibition of cannabis or nonprofit organizations whose services include support for the formerly incarcerated. These dispensaries are making legal adult-use sales with cannabis products grown by New York Farmers.
To be eligible, applicants must either have a cannabis conviction themselves, or be the close family member of someone who does, and own or have owned a business that had a net profit for at least two years. Nonprofits are eligible for CAURD licenses if they have a history of serving current or formerly incarcerated individuals, including creating vocational opportunities for them; have at least one justice involved board member; at least five full time employees; and have operated a social enterprise that had net assets or profit for at least two years.