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The Best Legal Dispensaries in New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty

For Stylish Homeware and Botanical Pre-Rolls

Gotham, 3 E. 3rd St.; 646-217-4544; gotham.nyc

The brightly lit two-level atrium at Gotham looks more like the MoMA Design Store than a head shop. Located across the street from the Bowery Hotel, the store is filled with actually nice paraphernalia, like Seth Rogen’s blobby ashtrays, sleek glass pipes from Tetra, and Tsubota Pearl Japanese lighters. “It really feels like you’re in a very chic home,” says food and cannabis writer Chala June. According to Gossamer co-founder Verena von Pfetten, the weed itself is excellent too. “They’ve done a really good job curating brands,” she says, and she especially recommends her “absolute favorite flower”: Angel Therapy’s Pizza Date strain, which can be found at just two shops in the city. “It’s the perfect high — no anxiety or paranoia, and you feel like yourself but a little more mellow and happier.” June stops by once a month to pick up Drew Martin’s “lovely” lavender-infused pre-rolls and Florist Farms’ vapes, which they call “one of the best disposable vapes I’ve ever tried: really flavorful, terpene rich, and long lasting.” Gotham also sells edibles not stocked at other dispensaries, including Rose New York’s Turkish-delight-inspired candy in flavors like apple-ume-ginger and rose hibiscus. “They do a lot of really fun events in the loft space, too,” June says. “During Pride, I went to a Canna Kiki. We did karaoke.”

For Self-Serve Ordering

Union Square Travel Agency, 835 Broadway; 646-777-7420; unionsquaretravelagency.com

This BIPOC-owned shop has partnered with the nonprofit Doe Fund and donates over half of its profits to it. Inside: “It reminds me of the TWA Hotel. It has this retro-futuristic vibe,” says Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi, cannabis writer and editor of High on Design: The New Cannabis Culture. The store stocks some of his favorite brands, like Kiva’s Camino gummies (“They have a subtle effect, so I don’t get couch-locked, and great flavor”) and Old Pal, which he loves because the flower comes pre-ground in a pouch like French tobacco, making it convenient to roll a joint on the go. There are also vapes, concentrates, and CBD skin care, all on view in the middle of the store and arranged by experience. “‘Do you want to be elevated?’ ‘Do you want to relax?’ And then it shows you the products that will get you there,” says Amy Deneson, co-founder of the Cannabis Media Council. USQTA rigorously trains its budtenders to answer any question but offers a self-service option to order on tablets and pick up at the counter, for those who would rather not stop and chat. The shop delivers to select neighborhoods in the city for $10.

For Your Own Personal Budtender

Housing Works Cannabis Co, 750 Broadway; 934-667-0873; hwcannabis.co

In December 2022, Housing Works Cannabis Co was the first recreational dispensary to open in the city. Here, the product is kept in the back, so customers are greeted at the counter by a budtender with a tablet who walks them through what’s available to help them land on the perfect strain. “The extremely friendly budtender helped guide me to the right flower within five minutes,” says customer Ruby, who prefers to remain anonymous. “They were efficient and didn’t try to upsell me, and I bought an affordable eighth of sativa that was perfect. It didn’t make me sleepy but provided a nice, calm high.” Pre-rolls, vaping pens, and weed-infused drinks are also sold. The shop is undergoing a renovation right now, but its current form is still quite pleasant. “When people think of buying cannabis, there’s this stigma of a dark shop with security guards and windowless back rooms. Housing Works Cannabis Co is the opposite: It’s a glass-filled space that’s open and beautiful,” says Lex Corwin, founder of the cannabis brand Stone Road Farms. “I’m obviously swimming in flower, but I went to buy oHHo gummies for a friend and a vape pen for my friend’s parents.” For those who can’t make it in, the shop offers delivery for orders over $100, promised within three hours.

For BIPOC-Owned Brands

Conbud, 85 Delancey St.; 917-327-2958; conbud.com

First there was Conbody, a fitness studio owned and operated by formerly incarcerated individuals. Now, owner Coss Marte has opened CONBUD — a Lower East Side dispensary just blocks from where he was first arrested for a cannabis offense at 13. On its shelves are many local women-, BIPOC-, and LGBTQIA-owned brands, with pre-rolls from Sheba Baby! and Hudson Cannabis, along with ingestibles like THC-infused olive oil and seltzer. “It’s a shining example of what a CAURD program licensee should look like,” says Weed Auntie and Erven co-founder Solonje Burnett, who adds that “you can feel Marte’s passion for creating an imprisoned-to-employee pipeline.” Jessica Naissant, owner of the Dope Connection BK, recently purchased an eighth of Bubble Gum indica from the shop and noted how knowledgeable and gracious the staff was. The milk-crate display cases reference Marte’s time selling cannabis outside a bodega, and there’s a “cop and go” phone booth in the store where customers can pick up their online orders. As Burnett sees it, “You can feel the love of people and the plant baked into the brand, and Marte is dedicated to celebrating and connecting the community he comes from.”

For a Neighborhood-y Experience

Terp Bros Cannabis Dispensary, 36-10 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; 929-614-3591; terpbrosnyc.com

Nestled among the restaurants on this strip of Ditmars, Terp Bros is the first dispensary to open in Astoria. Walking into the shop, customers are greeted with murals of smokers by Zeehan Wazed and Tommy Kaui Nahulu across from a wall of cartridges and pre-rolls. “I loaded up my bag with New York–founded brands,” says Marni Unger of the nearby Etain Health. “I got pre-rolls from Electraleaf and Good Day Flor, some flower from Hudson Cannabis, and an eighth of Lifted’s Tropicana Cookies — they’re a legacy grower from Queens and the best legal weed I’ve had here.” Also, the selection of cartridges is “banging,” says Queens native and customer Luca P., who bought carts by Heavy Hitters and plugplay. Although Terp Bros just opened in October, it’s already getting involved in the community. “They’re a real neighborhood shop. One of the co-founders, Jeremy, is from Queens,” says Unger. At other local spots, like wine bar Tootles & French or specialty grocer the Bier & Cheese Collective, you may see a Terp Bros poster in the window: Bring in a receipt from the dispensary and those businesses will offer a discount.

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The Best Legal Dispensaries in New York