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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

New York City has over 1,200 weed shops, and only one is legal

After the legalization of cannabis in New York in 2021, there are reportedly at least 1,200 unlicensed stores in New York City. Here’s what officials said they’re doing to ensure a healthy licensed market for consumers and operators.

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Officials claimed at a New York City Council meeting Wednesday that at least 1,200 unlicensed weed dispensaries, pudding shops, and smoking shops openly sell unregulated cannabis flowers, foods, vapes, and tobacco products across the city.

So far, the only licensed weed shop in New York is the Manhattan-based nonprofit housing corporation, with dozens promising to show up on a rolling basis this year. Although two more legal dispensaries are scheduled to open in the coming weeks (Smacked LLC is located at 144 Bleecker Street in Manhattan It will open on January 24thUnregulated cannabis stores continue to dominate the weed space by comparison.

In response to the disproportionately small number of weed stores and a burgeoning gray market, the state said its newly assembled task force will help even the score, after seizing 100,000 products and $4 million in 53 stores over two weeks at the end of last year. In November, Leafly reported The first raids are in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams Created an interagency task force behind the campaign In November last year. To date, a collaboration between the New York Sheriff’s Office, the Office of Cannabis (OCM), the NYPD and other units has seized nearly $10 million in illegal tobacco and tobacco products, according to numbers released by the New York City Sheriff’s Office and the NYPD on Wednesday.

How did the gray market flourish in New York?

In March 2021, A.J Marijuana Regulatory Act and Taxes (MRTA) authorized the possession and consumption of the plant but did not provide legal retailers for non-medical consumers to buy from.

The bill essentially opened up an 18-month green rush to sellers of all experience levels, including many corner stores and tobacconists with no prior experience obtaining or selling cannabis.

The state has made a clear distinction between new bootleg storefronts and old sellers who have either suspended operations in hopes of obtaining a license, or have discreetly continued to operate without pretending to be licensed or regulated. With the gray market window closing, it’s not entirely clear how the state will distinguish the illegal operators it wants to close from the legacy operators that New York’s cannabis laws and regulators aim to enable.

“New York City has a global opportunity to be a global center of excellence for the cannabis industry in education and excellence,” New York City President Anthony Miranda said at Wednesday’s meeting. “This administration will continue to support New Yorkers and justice inclusive individuals who want to build a legitimate and thriving cannabis business,” Sheriff Miranda added.

How a gray market campaign might affect consumers

On a visit to Housing Works Wednesday, a security guard told Leafly that unsuspecting customers in illegal shops could find themselves arrested if they were present during The store is set. Weed World truck busts In previous years, innocent bystanders and agents argued in chaotic investigations. Legislators and regulators have They insisted that they would not be cruel As cannabis criminals advance, and that they intend to use cannabis product forfeiture, fines and summonses instead of handcuffs and criminal charges. Tobacco violations can still result in arrests and more serious penalties.

Sheriff Miranda also said the task force will investigate the people who fund these stores, as well as many of New York’s delivery services. Representatives for Miranda and the task force didn’t say how it would distinguish legacy delivery operators from illegal ones during Wednesday’s meeting, but stressed that they only want to close storefronts, not old growers or dealers.

Thefts and violence are also a concern in unlicensed stores. Liquidity-intensive companies face a constant threat of holding, mainly from Teenage thievesAccording to the officials. The NYPD says there were 593 smoke store robberies last year compared to 343 in 2021, an increase of nearly 73 percent, The New York Times reported.

A smoke shop worker was shot in the leg Tuesday in Hell’s Kitchen, and a separate, unorganized convenience store downtown was robbed Wednesday at gunpoint. According to the officials.


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