Sales of cannabis products are seemingly everywhere these days, from bodegas and smoke shops to stores marketing themselves as dispensaries.
However, the city now has a message for them.
“We are not going to allow these stores to stay open,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference Thursday.
What You Need To Know
- After months of lax enforcement, officials are cracking down on unlicensed sales of marijuana
- Mayor Eric Adams said authorities visited 53 locations, seized $4.1 million worth of product and issued 566 violations during a two-week sting operation
- Officials say unlicensed sales are a threat to legal dispensaries, the first of which will open later this month
- The city's Sheriff Anthony Miranda joined "Mornings On 1" Friday to talk about the city's massive illegal cannabis seizure
After months of lax enforcement, a crackdown is underway.
Adams said authorities visited 53 locations, seized $4.1 million worth of product and issued 566 violations during a recent two-week sting operation.
New York City Sheriff Anthony Miranda said the average fines for each location totaled $30,000 to $50,000.
At the news conference, which featured a display of kid-friendly packaging, Miranda held up an edible in a wrapper made to look like a Willy Wonka chocolate bar.
“These are the products that are not geared toward our adult population, and these are the products that are endangering our children,” he said. “This is enticing our children, and it’s being very misleading.”
Most of the cannabis products sold illegally are unregulated, untested and have been found to contain contaminants.
Just as important, officials say, illegal sellers will endanger the legal market now taking shape.
“We don’t want them to get in the way of the legitimate industry,” Adams said. “So our goal is not to incarcerate. It is to confiscate and educate, that this is not how it is going to happen.”
Still, the recent crackdown yielded two arrests for criminal possession.
Separately, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz on Thursday announced a converted school bus selling marijuana near the ferry in Rockaway Park was seized, and two men were criminally charged.
Adams said he wants police officers to issue warnings to stores.
Meanwhile, the state on Thursday unveiled new signage to help consumers identify legal dispensaries, the first of which will open later this month.
In the meantime, officials believe the ongoing crackdown will send a message.
“Trust me, if you lose a million dollars of product,” the mayor said, “you’re not looking to open another store.”
Adams also said the city will look to Albany to pass legislation in the new year allowing for tougher enforcement.