The Daily News reports
Welcome to Uncle Budd’s, where business is smoking — and the cops don’t mind.
The street-side Harlem marijuana retailer, housed in a white trailer resembling a food truck, openly peddles weed from a parking spot at W. 116th St. and Frederick Douglas Blvd.
Customers pop in daily between noon and 11 p.m. for an assortment of edibles, pre-rolled joints and sealed bags of pot dubbed “Scottie Pippin” and “Purple Haze.”
It’s a different world for weed sellers just a decade after more than 50,000 marijuana busts under the Bloomberg administration in 2011 — with more than 90% involving people of color, advocates say.
Display jars of pot sit behind the truck’s clerk, offering an array of options that also include marijuana-infused gummy worms, since the operation launched two months ago.
“I 100% condone what they’re doing,” said a 23-year-old local restaurant host and customer. “It’s legit now. If the government makes money off it, so can people of color … And everyone who’s in jail for marijuana right now should be free.”
There’s nothing surreptitious about the new business: The truck sits in plain sight beneath a flashing LED sign reading “Uncle Budd’s.” The operation never missed a beat when two teens were recently wounded in a shooting across the street at a fried chicken joint.
Or when city cops, in a random vehicle checkpoint, stopped cars about 20 feet away.
Or even when election night supporters of incoming Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg partied only a few feet away inside the Harlem Tavern.
The legal dodge employed by ownership is simple: The buyer isn’t making a purchase, just providing the seller with a “donation.” And the seller isn’t peddling pot, but merely offering the customer a gift in return for their generosity.
“We’re doing all right,” said one of truck’s mellow salespeople over the hum of a generator that keeps the lights on. All the weed sellers are Black and live in the neighborhood, and most of the financial backers are Black as well.