Harlem‘s first legal marijuana dispensary, Gotham Buds, is officially open.

According to CBS News, Gotham Buds opened its doors on Wednesday. The store is in the heart of Harlem, located on West 125th Street across from the famed Apollo Theater, and is the 26th conditional adult-use retail dispensary to open in New York State.

Not everyone in the neighborhood was supportive of the dispensary. The 125th Street Business Improvement District tried to stop the business from opening its doors by filing a lawsuit, citing a nearby school in their case.

“We believe this location is bad for our children,” Barbara Askins, president of the 125th Street Business Improvement District, told CBS News in August.

Omar Tejada, co-founder and CFO of Gotham Buds, made it clear how they plan to run their business.

“We allow no loitering in front of our store. We specifically didn’t install an awning just to make sure that we don’t provoke that. Upon entry, vigorous age verification,” Tejada explained.

A judge threw out the lawsuit and recommended the community board review the case.

A few weeks later, in mid-August, the community board passed a resolution supporting Gotham Buds after 54.7% of people surveyed were OK with the location.

Though Askins was disappointed by the decision, she said, “We want all of our Harlem businesses to thrive, so we will do everything in our power to help make this be a success for Gotham Buds and our community.”

In approving the dispensary, the community board requires the location to hire locals and prioritize hiring folks “adversely affected by harmful cannabis-related laws.”

Tejada added that the business would strictly observe safety and security measures.

“Product will not be live throughout the store. It’s contained in one very specific area called our vault,” he said. “We use faux packaging to explain, to answer questions, to educate and to inform.”

Gotham Buds celebrated its grand opening on social media.

“BLOOMED JUST FOR YOU! Gotham Buds is officially open ready to give you a premium cannabis experience. 💪🏾,” the brand wrote on Instagram.


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