Le Lézard
Subjects: PDT, MAT

World's 1st Dispensary Owned and Operated by Formerly Incarcerated People - CONBUD - Celebrates its NYC Grand Opening on October 19, 2023

12PM press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony (CORNER OF DELANCEY AND ORCHARD ST) to feature cohort of city and state officials, all of whom have worked tirelessly to ensure that businesses owned by New York drug war survivors form the bedrock of the State's cannabis industry. 

NEW YORK, Oct. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- CONBUD, the world's first dispensary owned and operated by formerly incarcerated people, today announces its New York City grand opening, slated for Thursday, October 19, 2023 at 5pm.  One of the first recreational dispensaries to be awarded a social equity CAURD license by the state of New York, CONBUD is the sixth licensed cannabis retailer in New York City and the only licensed dispensary in its Lower East Side neighborhood. Located at 85 Delancey Street, CONBUD promises to deliver New York's finest cannabis to adult consumers and second chances to New York State's justice-impacted community.

"When consumers enter CONBUD, they aren't just showing up for cannabis; they're showing up for justice." -Michael Blake.

"CONBUD stands as a symbol of hope and progress, showcasing a vision for a future where consumers and businesses partner to reduce recidivism rates, rebuild lives and create stronger, more inclusive communities," stated CONBUD CEO Coss Marte whose story of incarceration, redemption, and entrepreneurial hustle comes full circle with the launch of CONBUD.

Marte's first cannabis offense took place at the age of 13 when he was arrested in the Lower East Side, which is one of seven disproportionately impacted neighborhoods that over-represented New York's State's prison population throughout the decades-long War on Drugs. 

After serving six years in state prison for drug violations, Marte launched CONBODY, a boutique fitness studio that combines social justice with the pursuit of sweat, featuring formerly incarcerated individuals as instructors.  Notably, CONBODY - which occupies the floor directly above CONBUD - maintains a 7-year-strong ZERO recidivism rate amongst its instructors, an achievement that Marte and his CONBUD co-founders, Alfredo Angueira and Junior Martinez, aspire to mirror.

"Our aim is to establish a social equity framework for our nation's cannabis industry by providing meaningful and stable employment to a highly vulnerable albeit highly capable population," said CONBUD CCO Alfredo Angueira, a lawyer, community advocate, and successful hospitality mogul who spent two years teaching legal research skills to Rikers Island detainees, most of whom were pretrial defendants in custody for drug charges.

According to the ACLU, in 2010, Black and Brown New Yorkers were 4.5 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white people despite their same consumption rates.  In 2020, just 10 years later, the NYPD's crime statistics data reported that New York City's Black and Brown residents made up 94% of all low level cannabis arrests. 

"Coss Marte and I are both first generation Dominican Americans who grew up in New York City during the height of prohibition and witnessed countless deportations within our communities," added co-founder, Junior Martinez.  "We're here to rewrite history, break down barriers, and challenge stigmas from the moment consumers walk through our doors."

With interiors and exteriors designed by Chad Smith of Smith & Architects, every inch of CONBUD's sprawling 2500 sq. ft. sales floor is interactive and imbued with symbolism. Milk crate inspired display cases pay tribute to Marte's past, selling cannabis outside of Lower East Side bodegas while seated on a milk crate.  Green hues adorn the space, an homage to the color of New York State's prison uniforms.  Backlit honeycomb fencing and cement columns offer a subtle reminder of the carceral conditions under which hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have been forced to live since the passing of the 1973 Rockefeller laws. Cannabis products by legacy, queer, BIPOC and veteran-owned operators fill an entire wall of recessed shelving that forms the shape of bent prison bars.  And finally, at check out, patrons are met with the 13th Amendment inscribed on the wall. 

"When consumers enter CONBUD, they aren't just showing up for cannabis; they're showing up for justice," said CONBUD supporter Michael Blake, who is the Founder and CEO of Atlas Strategy Group, former New York Assembly Member, and former Democratic National Committee Chair.

For more information, including hours of operation, please, visit CONBUD.COM 


CAURD-NY #000021

New York has one all consuming habit:  mass incarceration.   We lock up a higher percentage of our people than almost any democracy on earth, and it all began in 1973 with the War on Drugs. Come say high, and we'll tell you all about it. Founded in 2022 by Coss Marte, Alfredo Anguiera and Junior Martinez - three entrepreneurs, community advocates, and men of color - CONBUD is the world's first and only dispensary owned and majority operated by formerly incarcerated individuals. We are plant advocates, anti-recidivists, prison reform activists, community builders, and ex-convicts on a mission to provide New Yorkers with premium cannabis and New York's justice impacted people with second chances.  Time spent in prison can reduce a person's lifetime earn­ing poten­tial by half a million dollars. In New York State alone, impris­on­ment trans­lates to nearly $2 billion annu­ally in reduced earn­ings, over­whelm­ingly extrac­ted from communit­ies of color. Each and every CONBUD sale is designed to help reduce New York's 43% recidivism rate by supporting a company that provides formerly incarcerated New Yorkers with employment opportunities in the cannabis industry.  Out of prison should never mean out of work. 


[email protected]


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