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Cannabis on NYCHA rooftops, Popeyes Times Square flagship, and more

Hello everybody, happy Wednesday. In honor of 420, the horrifically déclassé but still very fun cannabis holiday, here are the budding stories and growing trends you need to know today:

Mayor Eric Adams wants to grow weed on NYCHA rooftops

Mayor Eric Adams, a.k.a. the mayor who parties with A-list rappers and supermodels, has unveiled an idea to grow cannabis on the rooftops of New York City’s public housing towers.

At a panel earlier this month in Albany, the mayor mentioned that his team was toying with the idea of installing hydroponic rooftop greenhouses at select complexes to provide jobs to NYCHA residents ahead of New York’s recreational marijuana rollout.

The only hitch is that marijuana remains very illegal at the federal level, and NYCHA gets more than half of its operating budget from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a federal agency. Even in New York, where cannabis consumption and most types of possession are decriminalized, weed is prohibited in public housing. 

A HUD spokesperson told Gothamist that the agency hadn’t heard directly from Adams’s administration about the plans yet.

H/t to Gothamist

Superette’s newest cannabis dispensary pays playful homage to classic Italian delis

“Cheese shop? Italian deli? Our newest shop is a true reflection of everything we love at Superette,” said Superette co-founder Drummond Munro, in a statement. “This highly nostalgic and immersive space is rooted in one of our favorite communities and is a great addition to our growing portfolio.”

Read AN Associate Editor Matt Hickman’s full writeup here.

Meet MerJ, an architecture firm for the cannabis industry

In the wide world of architecture firm specializations, there are firms that mostly just do healthcare, or residential interiors, or zoos. But did you know there’s a firm out there that specializes in design for the cannabis industry?

On its website, Denver-based MerJ says it designs for the industry’s front and back of the house, as it were. In addition to retail and medical dispensaries, the firm’s portfolio includes R&D and pharmaceutical laboratories as well as cultivation and processing facilities.

As recreational cannabis sales recently became legal in New Mexico, Virginia, and Connecticut (and tomorrow, New Jersey), there will doubtless be increasing demand for specialized firms like MerJ going forward.

One of the tastiest restaurants ever will 200 new stores in North America this year

While the Marietta, Georgia, location of KFC has special signage beloved by vernacular architecture enthusiasts, Popeyesthe home of the crispiest dark meat combos, fluffiest biscuits, and extra-piquant Mardi Gras mustard—is the king of fast food fried chicken. Luckily for everyone, the chain is opening 200 stores across the U.S. and Canada this year.

One of these restaurants will be a flagship at the crossroads of the world. Opening in fall 2022, the Times Square Popeyes will feature a food elevator to carry meals up to the second-floor dining room.

Parent company Restaurant Brands International, which also owns Tim Hortons and Burger King, says sales at the chicken chain were especially strong during the pandemic thanks to the debut of the (absolutely incredible) spicy chicken sandwich.

H/t to CNN

Chicago’s giant mushroom–festooned Rainforest Cafe may become a cannabis dispensary

As AN reported earlier this month, a shuttered Rainforest Cafe with a beloved but garish facade in the River North neighborhood of Chicago could become a medical and recreational pot dispensary later this year.

Progressive Treatment Solutions is looking to move its outpost from Norwood Park to the erstwhile 22,000-square-foot restaurant at 605 N. Clark St. Unfortunately for decorated shed devotees, the new proprietors will likely replace the goofy jungle themed facade that features giant mushrooms and monkeys swinging from tree branches. 

“[The proposed storefront] is much more tasteful and much more soothing than the garish stuff that’s out there now,” River North Neighbors Association President Michael Riordan told Block Club Chicago. “Everything seemed to be reasonable, and so there’s no need to not move them to another level and see what the larger community has to say about it.”

Company officials will share more of their plans on April 27.

H/T to Block Club Chicago

Special 4/20 ICYMI:

To round out today’s Daily digest, we’ve rounded up links to stories old and new that we’ve enjoyed today. We hope you like them, too:

  • StudioAC infuses cannabis culture with industrial minimalism AN
  • Can America’s colorful head shops survive the corporatization of cannabis? AN
  • In Skokie, an architecturally arresting pot shop reveals how marijuana has gone mainstream Chicago Tribune
  • Superette’s new Ottawa cannabis dispensary offers up eye candy with the edibles AN
  • Inside 12 of the Country’s Most Stylish Cannabis Dispensaries Architectural Digest
  • Former California prison to become trailblazing medical marijuana farm AN
  • This House Made of Cannabis Is Eco-Friendly and Beautiful Architectural Digest
  • Recreational marijuana company buys entire California town AN