Software engineer Irving Rabel of Wyandanch walked into the just-opened Smacked Village marijuana dispensary Tuesday in Manhattan, ordered an $81 Tropical Runtz weed pen from an iPad-wielding staffer, and left possessing what just a few years ago would have been illegal.
“This is a disposable pen. You just pull it and you throw it away when you’re done,” said Rabel, 27, holding the green-hued box promising 85% THC — or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component — with “uplifting” and “social” effects.
Rabel was among the first-day customers of the dispensary, the second to open legally and the first under a state program to give preference for operating licenses to those with criminal convictions for marijuana, or their families.
The program was designed, according to the state, to help those “justice involved individuals” who disproportionately suffered the consequences of the War on Drugs. Licensees must meet other qualifications, too, such as having owned a profitable business for at least two years.
The individuals’ dispensaries are backed by loans from the state and private organizations.
Smacked Village’s proprietor is Roland Conner, 50, who grew up in a housing project in Far Rockaway, Queens, and was convicted in the early 1990s