New reporting from The City shows illegal cannabis shops continue to operate openly across New York City, with many evading fines imposed upon them.

The City investigative reporter Rosalind Adams reported that the state has issued $25 million in fines to these unlicensed sellers, but only $22,000 has been collected by either the state Tax Department or the Office of Cannabis Management.

In an interview on “Mornings On 1” Friday, Adams shed light on the reasons behind the lack of fine payments, citing the appeal process afforded to store operators.

"The stores have a right to due process and a right to appeal those taxes and so the stores are starting to get bills, but even sort of the lawyers, who are advising them, told me, ‘We're telling them not to not to pay them. There's an appeal process. They have time,’” she said.

Adams also highlighted the conducive environment for illegal shops in New York City with a surplus availability of retail space post-pandemic.

“It is much easier to find the owner of the building, that's why the city has sort of come up with the proposal to go after landlords. But all this stuff is really hard because one weed store can close down, and another one can open up. We're still in a post-pandemic time where it's hard to fill storefronts, and weed stores are readily available to fill that.”

Speaking in Buffalo last month, Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed frustration regarding the illegal shops, and said she was “not satisfied” in the rollout of licensed retailers throughout the state.

 "I'm very fed up with how long it is taking to get these approvals,” she said.