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NY’s first woman-run cannabis shop will roll joints in Queens

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New York’s first licensed cannabis store owned by a woman will be rolling up joints in Queens starting Thursday.

The “pop up” dispensary at 162-03 Jamaica Ave. will be called Good Grades and run by owner Extasy James, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said Monday.

It’s also the first licensed cannabis shop to open in Queens.

“We are incredibly passionate about providing greater access to cannabis and breaking down the barriers that prevent so many people, especially those from marginalized communities, from experiencing the benefits of this amazing plant,” James said in a statement.

“We understand firsthand the stigma that has been attached to cannabis for far too long, and we are eager to join the thriving cannabis community to help change that. Our dispensary is a welcoming and inclusive space where anyone can come to learn, explore, and find the products that are best suited to their unique needs.”


James will operate her family-owned business with her cousin, Michael James, a Jamaica, Queens, native and lawyer.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced the first woman-owned licensed cannabis store in New York will open in Queens this week.Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The pot store will officially open for business Thursday at 2 p.m.

Good Grades is opening with support from the state Dormitory Authority and New York State Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund.

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

“Good Grades” dispensary is run by owner Extasy James and her cousin Michael James.ShutterstockQueens Borough President Donovan Richards praised the legalization of marijuana as “crucial” to the “economic puzzle”Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

The rollout of licensed cannabis shops since Albany legalized the recreational sale marijuana two years ago has been slow and rocky, allowing an illicit market to flourish because the law did not adequately address enforcement.

Mayor Eric Adams and the city’s law enforcement now estimate that as many as 1,700 unlicensed dealers are selling cannabis at brick-and-mortar stores in broad daylight — while just a handful of state-licensed marijuana dealers are open for business.

The black-market dealers are so brazen and unafraid that one unlicensed cannabis operator was even selling weed products right across from City Hall. It was closed, then reopened and closed again.

Hochul pitched legislation last week to stiffen fines against unlicensed weed dealers and make it easier to shutter illicit marijuana shops.

There’s a strong possibility the tougher penalties will be included in the new state budget due Saturday, April 1.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards was excited that the weed revolution has finally arrived in “The World’s Borough.”

He said entrepreneurs can now sell cannabis legally instead of being prosecuted.

“What was once a tool used to target communities of color is finally a crucial, and legal, piece of our economic puzzle that will create jobs, wealth and opportunity in those same communities,” Richards said in a statement.


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