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New York Cannabis Dispensary Series: The Upper East Side’s First Cannabis Dispensary 

By Samantha Qualls

Dispensary Name: The Herbal Care  

Dispensary Location: 1412 Lexington Ave, Upper East Side, NYC  

Dispensary Owner: Markel Bababekov 

Website: https://thctheherbalcare.com/  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theherbalcare_/  

Take a virtual tour with Good Day New York.  

On the dispensary’s vibe:

Excerpted from an article in New York Business Journal:  
"We're not just a dispensary; we're an art gallery," Bababekov said. Markel Bababekov, the owner of The Herbal Care, said the dispensary will focus on art, debuting with three pricey bongs. The glasswork memorabilia will cost $6,000, $10,000 and $20,000, respectively. 

On what the opening means to him:

Excerpted from an article in Our Town
For Bababekov, The Herbal Care is a dream come true. “I got a golden ticket. I feel like I hit the lottery,” he said. Getting the store to open at this time is no small feat — it’s been a rocky road for aspiring legal cannabis retailers, who have been tied up by difficulties securing funding, and a court-ordered injunction that kept most new cannabis stores from opening. 

Bababekov first secured his Conditional Adult Use Dispensary (CAURD) license in April. He described the process of getting the business up and running since as “grueling.” But, he said, “it’s been so much fun too. Building this dispensary. Meeting all the vendors. Meeting with employees. Coming to the dispensary every day. I enjoy it.” 

On what products to find: 

Excerpted from an article in Patch

Bababekov emphasized, his shop is not just for heavy-duty smokers looking for the top-shelf potency. The Herbal Care also offers lower potency products for people who aren't looking for an as-intense experience, as well as some CBD product, too. 

"One of the first things I asked my employees during interviews is: 'if a person who's never tried this before comes in, what are you going to tell them?'" Bababekov said. 

"I've invested a lot in educating and training my staff," he said of his roughly 25 workers. "No matter if you have never used cannabis before or if you are a longtime user, with us, you're going to really understand what you're buying." 

It's not just product safety and education that Bababekov has invested in — two security guards will also be present at the shop during operating hours. 

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