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Rochester’s first state-licensed marijuana dispensary opens

The line outside security to get in on 4/20 was long at new business Good Life Collective. Above the music, the din, the voice of the mayor of Rochester came through the walls from inside the store at 155 Monroe Ave.

“5…4…3…2…1,” Mayor Malik Evans said.

The inside crowd answered in kind.

In the lobby, the line would be moving soon to screen people and let them take a look at Rochester’s first legal, permanent cannabis dispensary. But first, the amped squad of waiting clients speculated about the festivities they could only hear through the wall.

“They should have had the mayor rip a bong hit and when he pulls out the stem it starts a Rube Goldberg machine that cuts the ribbon,” said one guy. The crowd laughed.

Inside, the mayor’s scissors were being put back in the city’s off-white “Ceremonial Scissors” box.

Owner and president Hiram Hernandez was circulating the shopping floor, beaming.

His family worked for years to make this dream come true — even opening a store in Oregon to learn about the business first. Being able to show profit on their overall business books was key, he said. The Puerto Rican family also runs a payments business.

“Hopefully New York changes the (years of profitable business stipulation) and allows people that have suffered social injustice a path to get a license, whether it’s retail, or whether it’s in the producing or wholesale side,” Hernandez said.

Good Life Collective becomes first state-licensed cannabis dispensary in Rochester NY

Hiram Hernandez Jr. is owner with his family of the new Good Life Collective dispensary in Rochester. The Puerto Rican-owned business is the first permanent and legal store in the city limits.

Visitors perused the bright display cases and talked to associates about what is on the Good Life Collective menu on Saturday. They carry vapes, flower, bad, tincture, gummies and more.

Are you buying anything? The mayor shook his head. “I don’t partake,” Evans said.

Plenty of people were there to shop. Bison Botanicals flower was $26 for an eighth.

A 1g vape cart was $60. House of Sacci mystery kush was $46 for 3.5g of flower. Tinctures by Harney Brothers were $42 for a high-strength bottle. A pre-roll, 1g, was $12.

Someone walked through handing out free mini pre-rolls from the Pines growing operation in New York, with a huge bag of hundreds of joints in his hand.

Good Life Collective hours and more

It was a party on 420 for the grand opening of the Good Life Collective dispensary in Rochester.

Hernandez and his three adult children will all play a role in operating the store. Their neighbor, Stems, welcomed them to the block with a “Glass and Grass” event on Saturday, marking the opening of Good Life. “They are our neighbors,” Hernandez said. “We work with them.”

  • The store is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. They are trying Sunday hours, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m..
  • Good Life has 3,000 square feet in the store.
  • They have a 10-year lease and an option for another 10 after that.
  • The dispensary has 20 employees, mostly part-time.

— William Ramsey is an editor with the Democrat and Chronicle.