The Real Deal New York

NYC’s first medical marijuana dispensary gets a Brooklyn outpost

The first dispensary in Brooklyn was opened last month
By Kevin Sun | January 30, 2019 02:05PM

Columbia Care CEO Nicholas Vita and 44 Court Street (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps, and Wikipedia)

Columbia Care, the company that opened New York City’s first marijuana dispensary in early 2016, now has an outpost in Downtown Brooklyn.

The Columbia Care Rochester dispensary

The dispensary inked a 7,000-square-foot lease at the ground floor and lower level of 44 Court Street, according to a press release. Columbia was represented by Michael Dubin and Hector Rodriguez of Savitt Partners, who also represented the company for their first lease, at 212 East 14th Street in the East Village. In addition to in-person pharmacist consultations and dispensing services at the new site, Columbia Care will also be offering home delivery.

“As the medical cannabis industry has evolved, more and more communities have welcomed companies like Columbia Care that provide a vital service to patients,” said Rodriguez. “The Court Street space represents a first-of-its-kind facility in this neighborhood.”

The facility is, however, not the first of its kind in Brooklyn at large. That distinction goes to a Citiva dispensary which opened last month, at 202 Flatbush Ave near Barclays Center.

Founded by a pair of former Goldman Sachs executives, Columbia Care was part of the first batch of companies licensed to cultivate cannabis in New York state in 2015, along with Bloomfield Industries, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain LLC and PharmaCann LLC. Another batch of five companies, including Citiva, received licenses in 2017.

The Columbia Care Rochester dispensary

Despite the rapid growth of the cannabis industry nationwide, medical marijuana companies’ expansion in New York City has been hampered by high registration fees, geographic restrictions, and lack of access to financing.

Medical marijuana companies have had Brooklyn in their sights for years. Back in 2015, Long Island-based PalliaTech signed a lease for a possible dispensary at 425 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn. That lease was contingent on the company being among the state’s first batch of licensees, which did not happen. The company was eventually licensed in 2017, changed its name to Curaleaf, and now operates dispensaries in Forest Hills, Queens, and on Long Island.

Westchester-based Valley Agriceuticals has also announced plans to open a Brooklyn dispensary in the near future. Valley was acquired by publicly-traded cannabis operator iAnthus Capital in 2017 for $17.3 million.

Columbia Care is currently licensed to operate in 12 U.S. states, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The company also became the first U.S. marijuana company to be licensed in Europe when it received a license to operate in Malta in November.