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Is New York’s Legal Weed Dank Enough?

We put legal weed and bodega weed to the test.

12:38 PM EST on March 10, 2023

A pile of nugs on a digital scale.

We don’t know where this weed came from! It’s a stock photo! (Budding / Unsplash)

Despite some recent noise from the authorities about a crackdown, New York's gray market weed bodegas still vastly outnumber the Big Apple's three legal cannabis dispensaries. But the product sold at the legal outposts is very different—or at least, it's supposed to be.

Legal dispensaries must sell cannabis that is grown in New York state and tested for quality and purity. The first people who were able to obtain cultivation licenses in the state are outdoor growers, prompting complaints from some connoisseurs that this stuff is, ahem, schwag. (That said, New York Cannabis Insider recently tested some of the legal strains and, welp, they're not as strong as they might advertise.)

Illicit weed bodegas sell cannabis that comes from—who knows! California? Massachusetts? Your uncle Ron? And it contains...weed? Grown...indoors? In water? Who cares, as long as it's got that fat THC content! Though, who can say if the label is legit, because it's essentially a speakeasy.

So how does New York's legal stuff stand up to the bodega bags?

For the third episode of the Hell Gate Podcast, our own Katie Way convened a panel of practiced smokers to hit pre-rolls of both and give you the straight dope.

Also on this week's show: Max Rivlin-Nadler talks with New York Cannabis Insider's Brad Racino, who has been publishing some fascinating work on one of the biggest stories of New York's rocky legal cannabis rollout. We don't want to spoil anything, but we can tell you that it involves former NBA All-Star Chris Webber, an empty warehouse complex in Detroit, and a state agency called the Dormitory Authority.

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Drop us a line and tell us what you think of episode three. If you enjoy our podcast, give us a five-star rating and tell your friends about it—and please subscribe to Hell Gate so we can make more!

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