This past Thursday, Just Breathe, a local cannabis dispensary in Downtown Binghamton, hosted their first Super Smash Bros. tournament in collaboration with Binghamton University’s Video Game Association (VGA).

Olivia Cornwell, BU ’23 and Just Breathe’s social media manager, described the reasoning behind hosting Smash tournament events.

“I really enjoyed going to the Smash tournaments put on by the [VGA] on campus with my friends,” Cornwell wrote in an email. “Smash (Ultimate) for me to this day is such an easy way to make friends. You just grab a controller and start playing. It just seemed natural that we collaborate with the VGA to make some new friends and connect with our community.”

Just Breathe is the first legal cannabis dispensary in upstate New York, located at 75 Court St. After originally opening its doors in 2021, Just Breathe focuses on “moving the needle, creating social change and helping folks out,” according to Just Breathe’s website. The dispensary sells CBD products such as flowers, vapes, pre-rolls and edibles.

Ross Oginsky, vice president of VGA and a senior majoring in business administration, described why he wanted to collaborate with Just Breathe.

“They hosted their own Smash tournament and I saw that,” Oginsky said. “[T]hen afterward I thought we should both work together. We’re both at Binghamton ,and it was bad timing for the first one because we had our own tournament on [the] day that they had theirs. Then they asked me to help, and I was more than happy to do it because I want to bring Smash to the whole community, not just Binghamton.”

Upon entering, there were five gaming stations set up with around two to three players per station. There was also a variety of seating from couches to barstools, allowing for versatile play, as well as refreshments such as pizza and soda.

With potted plants placed throughout the space, ambient music in the background and a “good vibes” sign hanging near a corner of the room, Just Breathe’s gaming environment was equally relaxing and inviting.

Cornwell went on to note the importance Just Breathe puts on creating community spaces.

“We believe cannabis gives us the ability to meet people where they are at in life,” Cornwell wrote. “We work so hard to support people with the products and services we offer, but more important than that, we want to be a place where people can create memories through our outreach.”

Keeping the space akin to their brand, there were also a few glass cases along the side of the room that displayed various THC brands such as Camino, Lost Farm, Flwr City, Nanticoke and more.

Joe Kim, a member of VGA and a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, explained why he joined VGA.

“I heard that they had a Smash Brothers local scene here, so I checked out their tournaments around January of this year and then ever since I started attending those tournaments,” Kim said. “I started making friends around there with people who are very nice, very chill and welcoming people, so I decided to continue hanging out with them, and I still support their scene because of that.”

Oginsky shared his future goals for VGA.

“Most of my future goals are under the esports umbrella right now, and we’ve been working with the school and [the Student Association] to expand esports and make it better,” Oginsky said. “So it’s mostly about upping the production quality and getting more people involved from the school and caring about our esports teams.”

With Just Breathe, Cornwell shared how the company is hoping to expand their game nights and in the future, host ones that involve a variety of games beyond Smash Brothers.

“Aside from our company mission, we are singularly focused on creating shared value for our community,” Cornwell wrote. “Just Breathe is more than a dispensary. It promotes lifestyle through events and select partnerships with community members/organizations.”