Manhattan's Fifth Avenue gets a cannabis dispensary on April 20

Midtown Manhattan gets its first medical cannabis dispensary on April 20. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The medical marijuana movement hits another mainstream milestone on April 20 this year with the opening of Manhattan’s first mid-town dispensary.

The California-based dispensary chain MedMen confirmed Tuesday that they will open a 10,000 square-foot retail space for qualified medical cannabis patients at 433 Fifth Ave., near Bryant Park. The major metropolitan location will be styled like MedMen’s classic Apple store look, but carry just a handful of licensed New York medical pot products. MenMen Manhattan will serve the state’s small patient base of 49,780. That’s versus hundreds of products in an average California dispensary, where about 23 million adults 21 age and over can walk in.

But as MedMen exec Daniel Yi told me in an interview last week, now’s the time to get established in the Empire State, which could allow recreational use of cannabis in anywhere from four to eight years. New York is set to be surrounded by legalization states including Massachusetts, Vermont, and soon New Jersey.

“Some in the media say, ‘This is dumb’, but the people who are dominant in California started ten years ago,” Yi said.

The midtown Manhattan store may be short on product or customers, but it’s long on symbolism, which can be just as important. “It’s a game-changer,” Yi said.

MedMen’s retail aesthetic channels Apple store vibes. Above, the MedMen Santa Ana, Calif. location.

MedMen has the private equity funding to keep afloat for years a midtown Manhattan retail space with little inventory and scant patients. It can afford to wait for New York law to catch up with New York culture, then dominate the tightly controlled marketplace. A 2018 Siena College Poll found 56 percent of New Yorkers favor recreational

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