ENTERTAINMENT

Hush dispensary in Allerton, second in the Bronx, opens its doors at long last

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After months of delays caused by a statewide battle in the court system, a legal recreational cannabis dispensary finally opened its doors in Allerton.  

Hush, the Bronx’s newest cannabis player at 2460 Williamsbridge Road in Allerton, hosted a grand opening on Dec. 14 that was anything but quiet and low-key, as its name implies. 

“Thank (you) everybody for support us from day one,” Denis Ozkurt, who co-owns Hush with his cousin Levent Ozkurt, said at the grand opening. “It’s a big day for us and a big step forward.”

The opening comes about four months after initially planned.

A statewide injunction that got hung up in the courts left the cousins in limbo after they passed their compliance inspection “with flying colors” in early August. The case was filed in Albany Supreme Court on Aug. 2 by a group of service-disabled veterans against the state Cannabis Control Board (CCB) and Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) — the plaintiffs arguing that the licensing rollout violated the state Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).

At first presiding Judge Kevin Bryant prohibited the state from continuing to allow dispensaries to open while the case was open, then granted exemption to 23 of the dispensaries who had already met licensing requirements — including Hush — this summer. But less than a week later, Bryant reversed his decision again, putting Hush back into a state of uncertainty about when their doors would open.

The Bronx Times reached out to the Albany Supreme Court system for comment and is awaiting response.

“Finally out of the injunction and we are just ready to serve the community now,” Denis Ozkurt said. “Serve it legal and safe.”

Dasheeda Dawson, founding director of Cannabis NYC, speaks at the grand opening of Hush, the Bronx's second licensed recreational dispensary, on Thursday, Dec. 14 2023. Hush, located in the Allerton neighborhood at 2460 Williamsbridge Road, is a family-owned business run by cousins Levent and Denis Ozkurt.
Dasheeda Dawson, founding director of Cannabis NYC, speaks at the grand opening of Hush, the Bronx’s second licensed recreational dispensary, on Thursday, Dec. 14 2023. Hush, located in the Allerton neighborhood at 2460 Williamsbridge Road, is a family-owned business run by cousins Levent and Denis Ozkurt. Photo by Erin Edwards
Hush's first customer, co-owner Denis Ozkurt's father Hal Ozkurt, is pictured with the new business owner during his son's grand opening on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.
Hush’s first customer, co-owner Denis Ozkurt’s father Hal Ozkurt, is pictured with the new business owner during his son’s grand opening on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. Photo Erin Edwards

A borough that has been disproportionately impacted by cannabis regulation, the Bronx has lagged behind other boroughs since OCM announced its first round of conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) licenses more than a year ago. The CAURD initiative is a statewide restorative justice program that is meant to provide entrepreneurial opportunities in the legal cannabis industry to individuals who have been impacted by the over-policing of marijuana.

“We know what the history of criminalization has been and the Bronx has suffered the most out of all the boroughs,” said Dasheeda Dawson. “It’s exciting to see economic development and see new stores open.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday her office anticipates that 37 dispensaries will have opened across the state in 2023.

“These new dispensaries continue our mission of strengthening our legal market while at the same time helping to push out the bad actors who skirt our laws and undermine all we are trying to accomplish,” Hochul said.    

Hush is the Bronx’s second fully open legal recreational dispensary storefront. The Bronx’s first legal dispensary, Statis Cannabis Co., opened in Crotona on July 6 about seven months after New York City opened its first dispensary in the East Village on Dec. 29, 2022. Sesh NYC, a licensed same-day cannabis delivery business, also serves clients in upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester County.

— Erin Edwards contributed to this report


Reach Camille Botello at cbotello@schnepsmedia.com. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes 

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