Now, at 50, he is returning to the industry, this time with the state’s full support. Mr. Conner, who grew up in public housing in Far Rockaway, Queens, opened a dispensary on Tuesday in Greenwich Village under a state initiative to give people convicted of offenses related to cannabis a head start in the newly legal business.
The shop, Smacked!, is just the second licensed store to open since the state legalized recreational cannabis in March 2021. But Mr. Conner is the first entrepreneur with a marijuana conviction to open a dispensary as a result of the initiative, which is being watched across the country.
Photographed for The New York Times, with words by Ashley Southall.New York State Convicted Him. Now It’s Made Him a Weed Pioneer.
Roland Conner became the first person with a criminal conviction to open a licensed cannabis dispensary in New York with the state’s help.