While New Yorkers smoke more weed than any other city in the world, there is a disturbing disconnect in the city when it comes to education, the benefits, and the different ways our bodies react to cannabis.
For Steven Phan, opening the world’s first CBD wellness center and experiential retail shop was a way of acclimating New York City to what CBD is all about.
That’s why Phan, co-founder of Come Back Daily, just opened his company’s second location. This time in Harlem (5th Ave between 118 & 119). His first store in Tribeca (Bway between Walker & White), opened in November 2018.
A native of San Francisco, Phan would frequent Bay Area cannabis stores. What he enjoyed most about his visits was the education he obtained about an industry often stigmatized. Phan learned invaluable information about cannabis, the industry and its medicinal purposes. He cherished the experience of asking questions about what he was buying and what were the effects—which to him was one of the most important parts of his trips to dispensaries.
Soaking up all of the information he could, shop owners generously recommended products tailored to his body and needs. When Phan moved to New York City in 2009, he found nothing like that in the City, despite the popularity of cannabis ; which prompted him to eventually invest in a space where people could experience in-full, the world of cannabis.
Just to be clear, Come Back Daily isn’t a smoke shop. Not by a long shot.
“We encourage the customers to experience CBD so they can further their understanding and trust in the plant,” Phan says. “We provide and select brands we feel are doing the right things, caring about the people while they’re making all this money.”
That means customers are encouraged to try chocolates, drinks, and even CBD-infused pills in the store. As they sample,they ask staff questions simultaneously, so that they can find a combination that suits their needs. At the store, Come Back Daily even offers yoga, meditation and massage services to give a holistic visit.
As New York comes closer to legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, Phan wants to create a resource that everyone can employ—not just CBD veterans—or people with capital—but newcomers as well and those who might not have the highest income. To discover the truth about the plant, and moreso, have access to it. Having been around cannabis for most of his life, Phan knows stigmas of marijuana and its use still exist.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana. And Hispanics are five times more likely to be arrested for the same charges. But there’s also the ongoing myth that if you use cannabis, you’re a stoner and lazy.
Phan, who is Asian American, wants to change that perception. In his experience, when it comes to the cannabis business, he’s seen that the majority of leading shops and dispensaries are owned by white people. That’s part of the reason why he opened his second shop in Harlem, though gentrification is greatly disrupting the long-time African American community.
“I want to bring kids from the community…and give that guidance to other, whether it be black, Spanish, Asian, shed that light on it, show them that there’s more than just smoking weed,” says Phan. “There’s people that have been mistreated, whole communities that have been mistreated because of these stigmas. “You can love that part of it, but realize that there’s more to cannabis than just smoking it.”
On Saturday, April 20, known as “4-20” a holiday celebrating cannabis culture, Phan and his collective of cannabis activists and entrepreneurs start a three-day NYC celebration of art activism with Understanding, a artist-activist who launched the annual art fest, Protect Yo Heart, three years ago. Taking place at Come Back Daily’s Tribeca location, Protect Yo Heart prepares for interactive exhibitions, art installations and activities celebrating art, and in other areas, the healing properties of cannabis.
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