Licensed cannabis dispensaries will display this teal sign, without the...

Licensed cannabis dispensaries will display this teal sign, without the red writing over the QR code. Credit: NY State Office of Cannabis Management

New Yorkers will be able to identify state-licensed cannabis dispensaries by teal "verification tool" signs in their windows, the governor announced Thursday.

All marijuana stores must display the sign, which includes a white marijuana fan leaf and a QR code that brings up a list of state-licensed marijuana retailers. Inside the dispensaries, product packages will need to have a "universal symbol" — a yellow triangle noting the presence of the THC compound that produces a high, beside a red circle highlighting that users must be at least 21. These emblems will assure consumers that they're buying tested, regulated products that meet state standards, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

"It is critical for New York's cannabis consumers to understand the risks of buying untested, illicit products and to have the tools to guide them to the safer, legal market that's poised to open," Hochul said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our partners in municipalities across the state to enforce the law and shut down illicit operators who are selling products that put New Yorkers at risk."

The state expects at least one dispensary to open by the end of the month, but hasn't said where it will be located. Seven businesses have been granted licenses to sell recreational marijuana on the Island, but none have announced details of when or where they'll launch.

As retailers make their debut in the first quarter of 2023, the state will run a digital public education campaign on the benefits of buying legal marijuana. The initiative will target adults and explain how purchasing from unlicensed retailers undermines efforts to build a safe, equitable market.

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