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Cannabis dispensary opens in Ithaca

By Traci DeLore (


Image credit: New York governor’s website

ITHACA, N.Y. — The state’s first conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CARUD) license has been granted to a dispensary that opened March 16 in Ithaca.

William Durham, a Brooklyn native that has spent most of his life in Binghamton, owns and operates the dispensary, called William Jane. He has experience in retail, construction, and property investment.

“I’m excited to be one of the first cannabis businesses opening in upstate New York,” Durham said in a press release. “I never imagined I’d be able to start a business like this, and I’m grateful to New York state for creating this opportunity to grow a business here. This is a blessing that will help me create opportunity for others in the future.”

Located at 119-121 East State St., the dispensary will open at 4:20 p.m. as a “pop-up” location supported by the New York State Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund.

The process provides licensees the opportunity to open on a short-term basis to fast-track sales and begin generating capital. The business will then close for final construction prior to re-opening on a long-term basis.

The pop-up program gives operators initial training opportunities before opening full time. It benefits all businesses involved in the cannabis supply chain from farmers and processors to distributors and retail operators

“We are excited to be among the early adopters of this new driver for equitable economic development,” Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis said. “We also appreciate the commitment of New York state to promote an inclusive approach to the regulated cannabis industry and to ensure the safety of consumers and the opportunity for local business owners.”

The cannabis adult-use retail dispensary license is a key component of the state’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, where the state’s first legal dispensaries will be operated by those most impact by the enforcement of previous cannabis laws and nonprofit organizations who serve the formerly incarcerated.

Applicants for the CARUD license have either had a cannabis conviction themselves or are a close family member of someone who does. They must have owned a business that had a net profit for at least two years. Nonprofits must have a history of serving current or formerly incarcerated individuals including creating vocational opportunities for them. They must have at least one justice-involved board member, at least five full-time employees, and have operated a social enterprise that had net assets or profit for at least two years.