The Struggle of NYC’s Weed Bus Pioneer

The Struggle of NYC’s Weed Bus Pioneer
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This article was originally published on Cash Only. Sign up for the newsletter here and follow Cash Only on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Last month, Cash Only linked up with the founder of Uncle Budd’s Bud Bus to learn what it’s like to run a mobile marijuana dispensary in NYC, and the story immediately became more complex than we anticipated.  As we’ve noted before, weed is now legal in New York, but a regulated retail system is still a work in progress. So technically no one is allowed to sell weed for the time being.  But since the NYPD is mostly embracing a policy of non-interference, savvy entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this purgatorial moment and setting up a variety of semi-legal cannabis businesses. These include brick-and-mortar pot shops and cannabis speakeasies, as well as weed buses that post up in areas with heavy foot traffic and sell kush out their windows like Marijuana Mister Softee trucks.  Uncle Budd is arguably the pioneer of this gray market model, embracing a legal loophole by gifting weed (not selling it) in exchange for a donation. At the height of his operation, he oversaw a dozen weed buses, and you could find these de facto mobile dispensaries in SoHo, Harlem, Midtown, and several other neighborhoods. They were hard to miss with their flashing LED signs and unapologetic weed imagery plastered on the sides of the massive cars.  Courtesy of Cash Only Then, in early September, nearly two dozen weed buses (including Uncle Budd’s fleet, as well as competitors) were towed by the New York City Sheriff’s office, and it supposedly had nothing to do with the wares they kept onboard.  “There’s an issue with the selling of products people are not licensed to sell,” an NYC Deputy Sheriff told NBC. “That is an…

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