First Legal Weed Shop Opening Soon on UWS

  Last modified on March 19th, 2024
flower power nyc

c/o Flower Power Dispensers

Just a few months after New York City announced a crackdown on its thousands of illegal marijuana shops, the Upper West Side will welcome its first fully legal dispensary.

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Flower Power Dispensers, the brainchild of Angelo Kitkas, is planning to open the first week of April at 22 West 66th Street (between Central Park West and Columbus avenues).

Born in Greece but a resident of Queens since he was eight years old, Kitkas is a licensed electrician who has been in the illegal marijuana delivery business for decades. He was arrested twice for cannabis offenses – though one of those offenses was having just over a gram on him – and served seven months of jail time in 2004. In 2023, Kitkas was awarded the license for the legal dispensary through the CAURD program (Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary) which offers people who were convicted under prior cannabis laws a chance to open the first dispensary licenses in NY.

“I’ve been dreaming about running my own legal store ever since I opened my first delivery business in 1997,” said the 44-year-old Kitkas, who lives in Astoria with his wife and two children. “We always talked about how we’d run our store once it’s legal.”

Kitkas himself will source the store’s product from local distributors and vendors. Products will include everything from traditional flower to edibles, vapes, drinks, tinctures, topicals and more.

“I will try every product before it goes in the store,” said Kitkas, who added that he’s currently looking for a certain strain of Sour Diesel, a New York favorite. “I want to curate a sort of ‘Best of New York.’ I won’t have anything in the store I wouldn’t use. I’m not sure if anyone is doing the due diligence we are.”

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Flower Power Dispensers sits at the base of The Europa, a luxury condominium less than a half block from Central Park. The space will feature a concierge and kiosks for customers looking for a quicker experience, as well as displays and “budtenders” who will cater to browsing customers. Budtenders are product experts who are trained on a regular basis by their distributors and vendors. A delivery service will be available roughly a month after the store’s opening.

The space will take design queues from the neighborhood. Kitkas wants to host a mural competition for local art school students and showcase the winning design in the store.

With Kitkas obtaining the license through the CAURD program, 4% of the store’s taxes on revenue will go back to the local community. But Kitkas wants his business to benefit the community in other ways, so he plans to hire locally and said the store has already received more than 1,000 applications. Current openings for a Budtender and Cannabis Marketing/Social Media can be found on Glassdoor.

“We are here to be a part of the community,” said Kitkas, who added that he fell in love with the location after one visit. “The neighborhood has been so welcoming. We want to help the community in any way we can.”

The store will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday (though it’s pickup only between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.; the store is fully operational beginning at 10 a.m.). For more information visit the website here.


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