The first legal recreational cannabis shop in New York Dispensary City rang up sales on Thursday, marking the beginning of what’s expected to be one of the biggest marijuana markets. Customers lined up at Housing Works Cannabis Co in the East Village, which was granted a license to sell cannabis by the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

The store is owned and operated by the non-profit Housing Works, which has been helping unhoused people living with HIV and AIDS since 1990. The organization says it pursued a dispensary license because it aims to right some of the “harsh circumstances” linked to drug prohibition. It’s also seeking to create a jobs program for those with criminal records, including those serving jail or prison time on cannabis-related convictions.

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OCM has said it hopes to have 36 dispensaries open by summer 2022, but the process could be delayed as a lawsuit filed by two companies challenging OCM’s licensing system is adjudicated. The lawsuits allege that the OCM failed to properly follow a law requiring priority consideration for applicants with a storefront and has not acted in good faith in its review of applications.

To find the regulated stores, look for a blue and white OCM-approved sticker that reads “Dispensary Verified.” You can also text your address to a number provided by the OCM for a list of locations. These shops can make sales only to adults 21 or older with a valid ID or medical cannabis card. They’re required to charge a 13% tax on all purchases that goes toward the state and local governments.

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