Comedy, Cannabis, Compassion

by | Cannabis Times

 Cannabis Administration and Use Review Department) process even started.

Hundreds of Amy Sedaris Fans Brave Rain for Chance to Meet Her at Manhattan’s Newest Cannabis Dispensary

It was a dreary Tuesday evening in September, but that didn’t stop hundreds of devoted Amy Sedaris fans from lining up outside the Union Square Travel Agency. This was no ordinary travel agency, however—it was the third legal cannabis dispensary to open in Manhattan. And Sedaris, known for her roles in hit shows like Strangers with Candy and BoJack Horseman, was the dispensary’s first celebrity guest “travel agent.”

The Union Square Travel Agency, which opened its doors in February 2023, takes pride in being a BIPOC-founded company in partnership with The Doe Fund. This non-profit organization has helped over 30,000 people of color, low-wage workers, and individuals who have experienced homelessness or incarceration achieve upward mobility through housing, paid work, career training, and other supportive services.

Sedaris expressed her excitement for the opportunity to work at the dispensary, citing the partnership with The Doe Fund as a major factor. “The money goes to a good cause,” she said. “Something good is coming out of it. At least I know that this place is safe. It’s New York-grown. It goes to a good cause. And it’s in my neighborhood.”

John McDonald, executive vice president of The Doe Fund and son of its founder George T. McDonald, revealed that his father had always anticipated involvement in the cannabis industry. “My father actually helped [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo write the legislation and he always predicted that there would be a dispensary, that we would run a dispensary, and I thought he was crazy,” McDonald shared with High Times. “But it turned out that he was right. He passed on two years ago, unfortunately, but he was behind all this. And the way that they wrote the legislation was supposed to be that the people impacted negatively, by incarceration, were going to profit from the sales of the cannabis.”

When asked about his satisfaction with this aspect of New York’s legal program, McDonald expressed optimism in the partnership. “It’s going great for us,” he said. “I think it’s a great idea. The rollout’s been slow but I just think [that’s] because the folks that got the licenses didn’t necessarily have the means to be able to put it in production. And they didn’t necessarily have the loans. You know it’s a very hard business when you think about what it takes to be successful in this. So we were lucky to be able to partner, a public-private partnership, where we could collaborate and we share half of the proceeds that go to people in our program.”

CEO Paul Yau of the Union Square Travel Agency also shared his reasons for specifically choosing to work with The Doe Fund. “We’ve had a relationship through one of our advisors, with The Doe Fund for decades, so it was a natural fit,” Yau explained. “And we’d actually partnered with them before the CAURD (Cannabis Administration and Use Review Department) process even started.”