Bronx Cannabis Hub Celebrates Opening of First Cannabis Dispensary by a Hub-assisted Individual in New York State


Anthony Chiarito,, 646-610-1936 

Matt Sollars,, 347-925-0101 

Bronx Cannabis Hub Celebrates Opening of First Cannabis Dispensary by a Hub-assisted Individual in New York State 

The Bronx, NY – On Tuesday, Smacked Village – which is owned and operated by Roland Conner and his family – became the first cannabis dispensary to open in New York State by an individual impacted by the past criminalization of marijuana use. 

Last summer, Mr. Conner joined the Bronx Cannabis Hub to seek assistance on his cannabis dispensary application and was one of three Hub-assisted applicants to be selected by New York State in November to open the first cannabis dispensaries in the state since the plant was legalized in 2021. 

“It’s for New Yorkers like Roland Conner that the Hub was founded,” said Patrice Edwards, Director of the Bronx Cannabis Hub. “Social equity is more than a buzzword. It means actually ensuring that those most harmed by failed policies benefit when they are corrected. Especially when it means opportunities to build inter-generational wealth and community power. We’re proud of what Mr. Conner has accomplished and look forward to helping many more New Yorkers impacted by our failed drug policies to open their own stores soon.” 

“I’m incredibly proud to be the first individual to open a cannabis store in New York, especially the first Black-owned business in this new industry,” said Roland Conner, owner of Smacked Village. “Getting here wasn’t easy, but it would’ve been impossible without the support I got from the Bronx Cannabis Hub. From helping me through the application process, to navigating all that’s come after, the Hub’s support has been invaluable. I’m looking forward to joining many more friends from the Hub at the launch of their stores.” 

“The Bronx Community Foundation is proud that we have been able to help Mr. Conner, and many other New Yorkers, through the Bronx Cannabis Hub,” said Desmon Lewis, co-founder of The Bronx Community Foundation. “So many people in the Bronx were harmed by New York’s punitive drug laws. Helping business owners like Mr. Conner, who directly experienced the impacts of those laws, is a first step towards repairing that damage.” 

In addition to now running Smacked Village, Roland Conner manages transitional housing that provides shelter and social services support to two dozen men in the Bronx. 

At the Hub, Mr. Conner received pro bono legal assistance from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP to complete the dispensary application, as well as navigate the new and still developing legal cannabis licensing, retail, and business processing.  

“Cleary Gottlieb is very proud to support the Bronx Defenders, the Bronx Cannabis Hub, and this innovative new licensing program. It has been our pleasure to work with Mr. Conner and many other Bronx Defenders clients as they navigate legal entry into a new commercial market and begin to capture its benefits. We look forward to seeing additional justice-impacted individuals and their families succeed through this program,” said Jeffrey D. Karpf, Partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.