After greeting a delivery worker on his doorstep, showing his ID and signing his name on Tuesday, Bryan Brown finalized the first legal recreational cannabis sale on Long Island.
The exchange — from the second the car parked outside his Nassau County apartment to the moment Brown placed four items in his doorway — took barely more than two minutes. Brown has waited that number of years to buy legal bud.
“It’s something that I’m sure a lot of people have been looking forward to,” said Brown, adding that being the first official cannabis consumer on the Island was both “cool” and “baffling.”
His $875 order included a four-pack of black cherry seltzer infused with cannabis and three 1-ounce bags of flower — the part of marijuana that’s smoked. Brown celebrated the milestone by taking a selfie with Matt Robinson, 37, the founder and CEO of Legacy Dispensers, an Albany-based delivery service.
What to know:
- Legacy Dispensers, based in Albany, began delivering recreational cannabis products on Long Island.
- A $250 order minimum is part of the company's plan to finance the three-hour drive.
- Prepayment is required and can be done through the firm's website.
Legacy Dispensers “soft-launched” delivery on Long Island Tuesday, dropping off orders amounting to at least $250 for a $25 delivery fee. Regional deliveries will formally debut May 8, Robinson said. Staff will hand off pre-purchased items between noon and 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The marijuana industry has been slow to get in motion since Albany legalized recreational cannabis in spring of 2021. Regulators have issued about three dozen licenses to open shops on Long Island over the past five months. But none have launched.
The state planned to set the first licensees up with storefronts as a way to support people penalized under the old marijuana laws. The initial “conditional” licenses are only available to New York entrepreneurs who were convicted of — or related to someone convicted of — a marijuana-related offense.
But regulators let businesses begin with delivery when the state’s efforts to secure storefronts stalled. Cannabis companies may deliver throughout the state even though their license only allows them to open a store in a specific region.
Legacy Dispensers is the first to make a foray on the Island, but others are eyeing the area. A business licensed in Queens, The Cannabis Place, is waiting for state signoff to start delivering, including in Nassau County, said CEO Osbert Orduña, a Suffolk County resident. His firm won’t charge a delivery fee, but will have order minimums that vary by region and start at $125.
Robinson said he's committed to serving Long Island long-term, regardless of how many competitors pop up in the region. He expects demand for delivery to remain strong and is working on stocking local brands. Legacy Dispensers has been receiving about 10 to 20 orders from Long Island daily since starting upstate on April 20, Robinson said.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Robinson said. “We’re not going to leave you guys underserved.”
Consumers must verify that they are at least 21 before they can place an order on Legacy Dispensers website. The business uses a payment processor to accept money from customers' bank accounts in a way that shields account information from Legacy Dispensers, Robinson said.
Staff in the Albany warehouse then place purchased goods in a bag and secure it in a locked box in the trunk of a car.
Two employees drive three hours to the Island. The “runner” — whom Robinson describes as a person in the passenger seat — texts or calls customers to verify they are present. The runner then checks their IDs, gets their signature and hands off the products, he said.
“I’ve been at this for a very long time,” said Robinson, who served time after being charged with selling marijuana around 2005. “Now that I’m doing it in the legal area, it feels so much better.”
Robinson said getting Legacy Dispensers off the ground was expensive and that he hopes to break even in about 60 days.
The firm was welcomed by Jessica Naissant of Valley Stream. She spent about $250 on a package with a sampling of several items, including joints, edibles and a live resin concentrate that can be smoked.
“I’m a fan,” said Naissant, who has a cannabis dispensary application pending with the state. “This is like the Uber Eats of weed.”