HomeNewsNYC Illegal Cannabis Sales Crackdown Kicks Off

NYC Illegal Cannabis Sales Crackdown Kicks Off

75 illegal smoke and cannabis shops were shuttered in New York City during the first week of “Operation Padlock to Protect”, with many more to come.

New York has fairly accommodating cannabis laws. Registered patients can buy medical cannabis from dispensing facilities operated by registered organizations across New York State, and recreational cannabis can be purchased at adult-use or medical dispensaries licensed by the State Office of Cannabis Management.

Additionally, New Yorkers 21 years of age and older can grow up to 6 cannabis plants (3 mature and 3 immature plants) in their home for personal use and up to twelve plants per household (6 mature and 6 immature plants).

But even given all the legal options for purchasing and home growing, illegal storefronts have been rife in the state; particularly in New York City. This poses a threat to not only consumers due to potential quality issues and puts children in harm’s way of unscrupulous operators, but also undermines legal businesses trying to succeed in what is a very competitive market.

“Operation Padlock to Protect” is a multi-agency enforcement action focused on shutting down illegal smoke and cannabis shops across the city’s five boroughs. The first week saw 150 inspections of unlicensed locations on May 4, 7, 9, and 11, which resulted in:

  • 77 cease and desist orders made and 75 shops sealed.
  • 370 notices of violations containing 3,878 counts of violations across NYPD, DCWP, and the Sheriff’s Office.
  • More than $5,960,000 in civil penalties issued.

Sealed shops will be monitored to ensure they stay that way. And this is just the beginning – brandishing new enforcement powers and legal authority granted by the state, the initiative will accelerate in the coming weeks.

“With this coordinated and sustained multi-agency enforcement, we will help usher in a thriving, safe, and just legal cannabis market that our city deserves while protecting our city’s children, families, and vibrant business districts from being subjected to these brazen storefronts,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid P. Lewis-Martin has previously said the growth of unlicensed smoke and cannabis shops was one of the biggest quality of life issues facing New Yorkers.

Jessica Walker, president and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce said:

“This is a win for residents who will no longer have to face this quality-of-life concern and for the legal cannabis industry that can confidently invest in New York without the threat of unfair competition from those not complying with the state’s guidelines.”

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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