Video: A look inside Manhattan’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary

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Today marked history in New York as a total of 8 Medical Marijuana Dispensary are open and ready for business. New York dispensaries are finally gearing up to sell cannabis legally beginning today. Those who have a medical prescription will soon be able to buy their marijuana in the edible, vape or pill form from one of five NYC locations including a location in White Plains, NY.

Columbia Care arguably has one the buzziest dispensary locations in New York City’s Union Square neighborhood. The state in July granted five medicinal marijuana licenses.

Nicholas Vita, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, runs Columbia Care. He’s gearing up to open his shop on 14th Street. Business neighbors include a CityMD office and a Chickpea restaurant.

“Almost every subway line in the city touches Union Square, which makes the location incredibly accessible,” said Vita, Columbia Care’s chief executive.

And in case you’re wondering, there are no marijuana plants on-site. Columbia Care has been growing its marijuana in Rochester, as the law requires all cannabis to be cultivated and manufactured in the state.

The dispensary’s exterior is intentionally discreet, lacking marijuana plant designs so commonly seen around the country. There are five security cameras out front, and patients will be buzzed in after showing medicinal program cards. Once inside, customers are invited back to the pharmacy area. The interior space is modern and warm, not sterile like a doctor’s office.
But key larger questions remain including how many medical practitioners will participate in the program, and recommend medicinal marijuana to patients.
Also, health insurance does not cover medical marijuana so patients will have to pay out of pocket. Columbia Care will run a separate program for low-income patients. The company has submitted its consumer-facing price proposals to the state for approval.

“There remains uncertainty … [around] the willingness of the medical community to recommend marijuana as an alternative treatment,” says Matt Karnes, founder of GreenWave Advisors, an industry watcher. The New York program is a “symbolic step forward in terms of visibility and awareness,” he said.

Read more on the story over at CNBC.