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The first recreational marijuana store opened in New York on Thursday, more than a year after the state legalized the drug.

Housing Works, a non-profit organization fighting homelessness and AIDS, opened the store in New York City’s East Village.

The organization was among the first 36 groups or individuals to be granted a license to retail marijuana by the state last month.

“We prioritize repairing harm, damage even through state policies,” Chris Alexander, executive director of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, said at a news conference at the store. “It is no coincidence that people disproportionately incarcerated for drug possession and sale are the ones Black or Latino Americans.

New York lawmakers legalized marijuana in March 2021, but stipulated that it should only be sold by licensed retailers to adults over the age of 21, and that the first licenses be granted to those who had previously been arrested or convicted for marijuana, giving them precedence over retailers in the state. lucrative market. Retailers can also sell marijuana that licensed producers in New York have grown and processed to make it ready for use.

A 13.5 percent tax will be imposed on marijuana sales in New York, with revenue going to schools, public housing, addiction treatment and mental health services.

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