Yo, there’s a straight-up turf war goin’ down in Harlem ’bout that dispensary across from the Apollo Theater!

Yo, there's a straight-up turf war goin' down in Harlem 'bout that dispensary across from the Apollo Theater!

Yo, what’s up? My name’s Dan and I’m here to tell you about the latest battle going down in Harlem. There’s a new dispensary coming to town and it’s causing some serious drama. This spot is set to open up right across the street from the Apollo Theater, which as we all know, is a historic spot for Black musicians and performers.

Now, the 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) ain’t too happy about this. They filed a lawsuit with the New York Supreme Court because they think state regulators were shady and tried to sneak this dispensary in without telling anyone. “We just wanna know why the decision was taken really without consulting us,” said Mukaram Taheraly, chairman of the 125th Street BID.

But that’s not all. The BID is also saying that this dispensary violates regulations because it’s too close to a school (Touro College). They’re listing a bunch of businesses that serve minors and trying to make a case for why this dispensary needs to go somewhere else.

Their solution? The BID recommends that the dispensary opens inside the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, which is owned by the state. They think this is a better option because patrons will be in a safer environment.

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But not everyone is on board with this plan. Some residents are feeling pretty conflicted about it all. “They will have customers that feel like this is an establishment I can really go in and feel safe,” said Harlem resident Breeze Fabre. Another resident thinks that if they’re giving people jobs, that’s a good thing. But others aren’t so happy about it. “That’s the worst thing they can do,” said Harlem resident Brenda Balthazar.

Here’s what we all need to know: The New York Cannabis Control Board approved 99 new licenses on April 3rd, bringing the provisional retail dispensary licenses for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries (CAURD) up to 165. So, this dispensary is just one of many that are coming to New York.

But the location is what’s really making people upset. The Apollo Theater has been a spot for legendary Black performers like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. This is a place with a lot of history and it means something to the community. It’s no wonder why people are so passionate about this.

Look, I’m not here to tell you what to think or feel about this situation. All I know is that there’s a battle going on and it’s far from over. The BID wants this dispensary to move somewhere else and residents are feeling some type of way about it all. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.

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