Staten Island’s first legal weed shop is going to be run by an unlikely business team made up of two men from the Jewish and Muslim faiths, who together intend to show the world that people of their backgrounds can work and prosper together.
“We want to show what happens when Jews and Muslims work together,” said Shlomo Weinstock, who with his partner will be running The Flowery weed shop on Staten Island, reports The NY Post.
“We come from Abraham,” Elgaly said. “We eat the same food. We have the same personalities.”
Both men told the Post that they’re heartbroken about the violence and death going on as a result of the Hamas-Israel war and believe cannabis can help calm the hate and tensions — at least in New York.
“It’s horrible. Both sides are dying,” said Weinstock, whose grandparents survived the Holocaust. Elgaly’s family comes from Egypt.
They both have prior business experience. Elgaly has run food shops including a pizzeria and a bagel store in Staten Island and Weinstock was a music tour manager. And they were both convicted of minor marijuana offenses.
As Elgaly said, they “have too much in common.”
Unusual for a city cannabis dispensary but not necessarily for Staten Island, The Flowery is spacious, with 15 parking spots. Staten Island, with a population of about a half-million, is the least populated of New York City’s five boroughs but the third largest in land area.
One of the reasons that licensed cannabis retailers have been unable to open cannabis shops on Staten Island, like the rest of NYC, has been finding space.
Weinstock and Elgaly were able to lease the building, thanks to the New York State Dormitory Authority, the body with the authority to help find locations and negotiate terms with landlords for cannabis dispensary licensees.
They were meant to open The Flowery last August, but their plans got derailed by a lawsuit filed against the state that froze license approvals for months. Following a months-long legal standoff that had New York cannabis shop owners in a holding pattern and state regulators unable to hand out new business licenses, the case was finally settled in late December.
“We are super excited to open. Mo has the experience running retail. He’s the mayor of Staten Island!” Weinstock said jokingly.
Check out the NY Post’s photos of Weinstock and Elgaly at The Flowery on Staten Island.
Photo of Staten Island Ferry from Wikipedia