Marijuana’s Moment: Cannabis Dispensary New Metro’s Owner Realizes The American Dream


Sean Kang, a Bayside, Queens, resident, was arrested in 2006 and 2007 for possessing and selling marijuana.

“In 2006, marijuana laws we harsher than today,” he recalled. “People were scared to touch this stuff.”

That arrest also would later provide a credential to make him eligible to go into business, selling marijuana legally more than 18 years later.

“I was arrested and had to appear in front of a judge,” Kang, now 35, said. “It was a serious crime then. In hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise.”

He became one among 1.2 million marijuana arrests in the state.

On Feb. 19, Kang opened the first recreational dispensary in eastern Queens, attracting customers from New York City, Nassau County and beyond. Marijuana had gone from creating products of the penal system to providing pleasure and medical uses.

“I believe in karma,” Kang said in New Metro, his newly opened dispensary. “I try to operate in a positive way and look for growth.”

He stood near a collage of newspapers on doors and walls filled with positive words and headlines of love and happy, New York sport teams,  and astro horoscopes.” Kang and his business partner Jack Eisakharian are making news with one of the state’s first legal dispensaries..

“It was a beautiful day for a new legal path in New York State cannabis,” Kang said of New Metro’s opening. “The weather in February was amazing. It was warm. It was a beautiful opening.”

The 2,600-square-foot store on Horace Harding Expressway, off the Long Island Expressway, is a success story as peace is declared regarding marijuana in the war on drugs.


When New York decided to license recreational marijuana dispensaries, it could easily have issued them to large, out-of-state corporations. Instead, the state decided to favor minorities who had been arrested amid marijuana crackdowns in their communities.

The Office of Cannabis Management awarded New Metro the 61st Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License.
“They took a chance on minority New Yorkers such as myself,” Kang said. “They wanted to try to give equity back to minority New Yorkers.”

“I want to thank Chris Alexander and his team at the Office Cannabis Management for keeping the vision. It was a tough road for this all to be possible,” Kang said.

He sings the virtues of legal sales, while saying illegal, unlicensed stores perpetuate problems. They service people 21 and older, with no medical card necessary, and believes some illegal stores don’t follow rules.

“It’s a safer tested product (pesticides, heavy metals, mold and other toxins) than one from an unknown source,” Kang said. “These illegal shops sell candy, drinks, chips and cannabis. The same kid that buys a bottle of soda, goes into same store with snacks with all the cannabis in their face.”


New Metro sells a section of effect-based products for people seeking to sleep, be uplifted and otherwise impacted. They sell marijuana buds/flowers, edibles, vapes, pre-rolls, concentrates, tinctures, gummies, chocolates, pipes, bongs, vaporizers, batteries for vapes, niche products such as vegan edibles and kosher products, and infused drinks such as teas and coffees.

“We have the widest range of products outside of regular cannabis,” Kang said. “It’s not your typical store. We try to curate cool, niche products.”

Customers range from 21-year-olds to older couples who lived through a war on drugs that included millions of arrests.

“We see a lot of cute older married couples come in,” Kang said. “They’re so excited. It’s like a grown-up in a candy store. It’s really rewarding to provide this experience to them.”


Kang still lives in the area and his mother, who sometimes brings him lunch at the store, lives minutes away. He grew up here, as part of a community where he now operates a business.

“Surprisingly, the wellness aspect of cannabis is very big,” he said. “A lot of people assume cannabis is recreational, which a lot of people use it for. A lot of people come here with pain inflammation of their joints and bones. They buy products and say, ‘This helps me sleep better at night.’”

He is among a crop of entrepreneurs who see marijuana as a mission.

“That’s all I wear,” he said, wearing a black shirt with the store’s name. “New Metro, I wear it like Superman. We’re  trying to do right thing to the best of our ability.”

Kang’s store showcases a wide range of brands, such as Dank, Ithaca Organics, Ayrloom and Zizzle.

“It’s cool to witness the New York State legal market develop,” he said. “These are the few of many brands licensed in New York State. We try to pay homage to New York. I’m proud to be born and raised in Queens.”


Sean Kang’s mother emigrated from South Korea, and he grew up as the child of a single mother with two children.

“We had our hardships,” he said. “I thank my mom for providing for us and am looking forward to returning the favor.”

He watched how his mother managed hardship, looking out for her family.

“It taught me a lot of life lessons,” he said. “I grew up extremely poor. Kids had the coolest sneakers. I couldn’t afford them. Kids are kids. Everyone wants to fit in.”

He graduated from Benjamin Cardozo High School in 2006, deciding what to do next.

“I was in limbo,” he said. I wanted to make sure that I was able someday to support my family and myself.”

After graduating high school, he trained and worked as a radiologic technician at Main Street Radiology, minutes by car from where he would open his store.

“I enjoyed my job. The management and the people were wonderful, but I couldn’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life,” he said. “I needed to invest in myself.”

He began doing digital marketing, attending trade shows, conferences and conventions, including one in Bangkok, Thailand.

“I went to the conference. It gave me the confidence to start an ecommerce business,” he said. “I never returned to work after that conference.”

He began providing leads for companies with a wide range of physical, often healthcare, products, then started growing marijuana during the pandemic under the alias of Metro Farmer and applying for a license to sell marijuana. The next evolution of Metro Farmer became New Metro, a licensed, NYS dispensary.

“I grew up on newspapers, doing crossword puzzlesand sudoku,” he said. “I always loved the smell, sound, feel of a newspaper. It’s a retro vibe that I want to preserve. Print media is dying.”

Licensing, though, was put on hold amid litigation.

“I had signed my lease. But none could open. They wouldn’t process any applications,” Kang said. “We stayed patient and waited for our chance. Once the lawsuit was settled, we resumed the application and awaited approval to commence sales.”

He interviewed nearly 300 people, before hiring the 20 he thought were best. Today, he sees himself as helping people, not a casualty of the war on drugs, but part of a movement to provide products that can ease stress.

“It can aid. It can help,” he said. Looking back, many things he did, including his e-commerce experience, come in handy today.

“Being from the internet business helped. All the experiences I had went into building the store,” Kang said. “If you learn something, it’s with you for life. No one can take that away.”


New Metro includes a large parking lot that is free for customers and is near a Korean barbecue as well as other restaurants selling pizza, empanadas and bagels.

He and his business partner operate one of the few licensed stores, but he expects there will be more.

“The state is scaling this program aggressively. I know a lot of stores are coming online soon,” he said. “Competition is good for the consumer. It brings the price down and makes us work harder for the customer.”

Kang is already working hard to make his store a success story. They’re planning on launching delivery, settling on minimum orders and distances, and he is proud of the workers.

“My team is crushing it,” Kang said. “They’re passionate and very happy to be here. They’re excited to help our customers make informed decisions.”

He believes his business is good for his community, as he employs people and serves customers blocks from where he was once arrested.

“I love being here. It doesn’t even feel like work. It’s exciting,” Kang said. “I’m here seven days a week. I do over 80 hours of work a week, but it doesn’t bother me. I’ve been here before opening, getting the store ready, clocking in 80 hours of work here for the past two months. I think this is what I was supposed to do.”