New York State chooses the first official pot sales location near the famous Apollo Theater

It’s buzz time at the Apollo!

The state has identified the first location in New York for an officially licensed cannabis store – at 248 W. 125th Street, across from Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater.

“I’m pleased to report that we signed our first lease last night,” Reuben McDaniel III, President/CEO of the Housing Authority, said at a board meeting.

“For those of you familiar with Harlem, you can stand at the Apollo and throw a baseball right across the street.”

The housing authority is tasked with identifying the locations for cannabis stores on behalf of the first private retail licensees, who were chosen because they had a previous marijuana conviction and also had business experience.

Media outlet City was the first to report on the upcoming arrival of the Apollo’s new cannabis store neighbor.

125th Street, Harlem
Weed fans are debating the location of a new cannabis store near the Apollo Theater on 125th Street in Harlem.
Daniel William McKnight for the NY Post

State regulators recently issued the first 36 licenses in New York to sell cannabis: 28 to retailers and 8 to non-profit groups. None are open yet.

The storefront is between Aldo Shoes and Cell City of Harlem/Gold of Harlem.

A worker at Gold of Harlem hailed the new cannabis shop as a positive development.

“I am smoker. I’ll be the first to get in there,” said Roger Tossavi, 37. “I’ll definitely go. I will check that.”

“Joy will come back here at number 125 [Street]. It will make money. It’s the 125. Why not?” If they have a liquor store and everyone drinks alcohol, why not? They could have a pot store.”

marijuana plant.
Marijuana plants like these could be processed and sold at a new state-sponsored cannabis store slated to open on 125th Street in Harlem across from the Apollo Theater.

Not everyone is a fan.

An elderly Harlem resident, who described herself as a “concerned citizen,” opposed state-sponsored cannabis coming into the neighborhood.

“Legal weed — people are high enough as it is,” she said as she walked past the Apollo.

“I don’t think opening a legal marijuana commercial is a good idea, period. That should be decided by a doctor.”

Meanwhile, a pot smoker, a 24-year-old bouncer known by the street name “Twin,” who smoked a joint as he walked by the state’s cannabis store location, said he would stick with his illicit dealers.

“I’m not going to buy shit there anyway,” Twin said.

Twin expressed concern about higher prices being charged by the state cannabis shop, which has to levy a heavy tax, saying “I like the street vendor because I can make a deal with him.”

“You have to think about the streets when that opens up. You have to go deep.”

Critics say the launch of New York’s cannabis program is turning into a bad trip.

A study published last week claims that there are “probably tens of thousands of illegal cannabis businesses” currently operating in bodegas, smoke shops and other storefronts in New York City — with some pop-up shops selling bad or dangerously tainted weed, a new study reveals.

Sure enough, there was a guy selling weed down the block from the Apollo.

Street Vendor, Harlem
Street vendor Dean Smallz Baggthat sells both marijuana and hats a block from the Apollo Theater, near a state-licensed cannabis store on 125th Street in Harlem.
Daniel William McKnight for the NY Post

Dealer Smallz Baggthat said he’s embracing competition from state-sponsored dealers.

“It’s time. It’s long overdue. I feel like we’re always late to the party with things like this,” he told the Post while operating from his table at 125th and Lennox. New York State chooses the first official pot sales location near the famous Apollo Theater


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