A bodega — which is derived from the word for a storehouse where wine is matured — is a small convenience store typically offering alcohol, tobacco, snacks, beverages, and other small offerings. There are more than 15,000 bodegas in the greater New York City area.
Many bodega owners want to be able to sell cannabis once it’s legal. “Right now we sell cigarettes, we sell beer — we are highly regulated. There is no reason why we cannot be included in the packaging, distribution and sale of marijuana,” said Mateo.
One downside, however, to making common corner stores access points for cannabis — which is currently a cash-only business — is that it further raises their profile for potential robberies.