Tourists are taken aback by the smell in Times Square

After the legalization of recreational marijuana, the smell of weed in public places is rampant. Some complaints sparked a new campaign from the Times Square Alliance to put up signs that read “Let’s be Blunt: No Smoking in the Plazas.”

“We were walking down the street and had a really gross smell and thought it was a skunk,” Zach Paquette, a tourist from Indiana, said.

What You Need To Know

  • Times Square Alliance put up signs to curb weed smoking

  • The alliance says it is getting complaints

  • The signs are geared to educate people on the do’s and don’ts of the area

  • A New York state law prohibits smoking of any kind in public parks and spaces

“Not only Times Square, but everywhere I smell weed,” Ralph Stigter, a tourist from Holland, said.

“There was a lot of confusion about, ‘where can I possess it? Where can I sell it? Where can I smoke it,’” Tom Harris, president of Times Square Alliance, said.

The president of the nonprofit organization that promotes and aims to improve the area says the recent signs educate people to not smoke in public parks and spaces.

The state legislature legalized recreational marijuana use in the spring of 20-21, and regulated recreational sales just got started in the month or so. But the state made it illegal in October to smoke cannabis and tobacco in all state parks and public outdoor spaces, allowing municipalities to ticket people fifty bucks per violation.

Despite that, Stigter says the smell of weed in Times Square stopped him in his tracks

“I think it will eventually evolve and it will be less and less now. Like I said, it is childish. It’s allowed, everybody needs to do it. It’s actually stupid,” he said.

Others NY1 spoke with didn’t mind or didn’t notice.

“It’s not a bad smell. I don’t mind it, but you can just smell it,” Peter Thompson, a tourist from England, said.

“Nothing noticeable that I would say is definitely busy, but no smell,” Maddie Phillips, who is visiting from Canada, said.

The Times Square signs are part of a larger campaign by the alliance on the do’s and don’ts in the area. As for that $50 fine for smoking in public parks and spaces, no word from law enforcement agencies on the extent of enforcement going on.