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#Industry Spotlight

New York Cannabis Dispensary Series: NYCBUD Tales - High Spirits in the City That Never Sleeps

By Sarah James

Dispensary Name: NYC BUD 

Dispensary Location: 4445 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11101  

Dispensary Owner(s): Giancarlo Pinto, Salvatore Pinto and JonPaul Pezzo 


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nycbud.co/ 

Path to legal cannabis: 

Excerpted from an article in PIX11:   
Giancarlo Pinto is one of the three partners. A longtime friend also owned nightclubs and a cousin has a previous marijuana-related offense.  Social justice and business background are required by the state for the license.  “This is like a time capsule on top of terrific cannabis products,” said Pinto.   

The mission of NYC Bud: 

Excerpted from TimeOut:  
“As native New Yorkers, we know the Subway is the backbone of the city. Its 24-hour system allows NYC to be the city that never sleeps and moves us, our employees, and our customers around,” said Jonpaul Pezzo, owner and operator of NYC Bud. “Transit is an obvious inspiration for our store, and we’ve designed it in a way that not only tells the story of New York but will also encourage people to hop on the subway and spend time at NYC Bud, even just to take a photo.”   

Excerpted from an article in Queens Ledger 
“’We’re Queens kids, this is our vibe,’ Pezzo said. “I was fifteen years old riding the 7 line. My mother thought I was right around the block when I was in downtown Manhattan buying fat caps to go do graffiti on the weekends. We hung out in parks, we drank, we smoked and this is our culture, you know? I feel like kids have lost community with video games and technology. What was once connecting us is disconnecting us now. We wanted to bring the essence of old New York.’ 

Pezzo said he wants his business to serve every community in surrounding Queens neighborhoods of LIC, Astoria and beyond, with plans to eventually open locations throughout the city. 

‘Everyone, everyone, everyone,’ Pezzo said. ‘We’re really excited because we feel we’ve built something very different. We want to open stores in every borough. We’re an NYC brand.’” 

On product procurement: 

Excerpted from an article in LICPost:   
“NYC Bud offers a wide variety of cannabis products ranging from flowers, pre-rolls, and vapes to edibles and tinctures from New York state cannabis growers. Cannabis purveyors Noomi Rana and Zion Voss established their company Zizzle in 2020 and grow their product at their farm in Ithaca.” 

What will a customer find when they walk in? 

Excerpted from article in Green Market Report:  

“A new dispensary opened in Long Island City this weekend called NYC BUD. Instead of opting for the austere, minimalist look of the “Apple” store, which has been the trend for dispensaries, NYC BUD chose to lean into New York City culture. The store’s logo and interior pay homage to the New York City subway. The store also features graffiti artists and displays the product inside a train car. While off the beaten path, NYC Bud plans to have numerous events featuring artists and DJs to make it a destination dispensary. Make sure the ‘mind the closing doors’ when leaving.” 

Excerpted from article in LIC Post
“A green railing fence leads to the store, complete with “subwayish” signage and lighting globe. Upon entering, customers are greeted by “Tokin” booth 420 -the number pays tribute to “Weed Day” on 4/20. The interior is a throwback to an MTA subway station from yesteryear, complete with graffiti from classic ’80s artists, a vintage subway bench, and a graffiti-covered life-sized subway car with moving doors. The ATMs resemble MTA vending machines, and the pick-up counter is designed like an old-fashioned subway newsstand. And since a subway station wouldn’t be complete without its house resident, the rat, interdisciplinary theatre artist Jonothon Lyons, AKA “Buddy the Rat,” entertained the crowd on opening day, complementing the subway atmosphere without the yuck factor.” 

What will NY’s cannabis industry look like in five years? 

Excerpted from article in NY Cannabis Insider:  

“I think we will see an explosion of everyone trying to catch the green wave in the next few years. Then there will likely be a large amount of stores closing and people dropping out of the industry. It’s like other emerging sectors; there is always the initial gold rush and then reality sets in. That’s the nature of the business. At the end of the day, it’s like any other retail experience and sales: you can be a victim of the market and the market’s circumstances.” 

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