New York Officials Shut Down Illegal Dispensary As Licensed Stores Begin to Open

New York officials recently announced the forced closure of Big Chief Smoke Shop, an unlicensed cannabis retailer in Brooklyn, coinciding with the opening of the borough’s first licensed dispensaries.

Full story after the jump.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), Attorney General Letitia James, and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) on Monday announced the forced closure of Big Chief Smoke Shop, an unlicensed cannabis retailer in Brooklyn. The closure came just one day before the opening of the borough’s first licensed adult-use dispensary.

Big Chief Smoke Shop had been selling cannabis products without a license since at least November 2022, according to a press release from the governor’s office. Officials said they previously inspected the location in August and October and, as part of each of those actions, they issued a Notice of Violation and Order to Cease Unlicensed Activity against the shop. They also claim to have confiscated more than 600 pounds of untagged cannabis and cannabis products from the site across both visits. In addition to the forced closure, officials say they are also seeking penalties from the shop’s owner and the owner of the building that hosted the unlicensed retailer.

Gov. Hochul said in a statement that New York has “no tolerance” for unlicensed cannabis retailers in the state.

“This site egregiously violated New York’s cannabis laws and I’m proud to be working with the Attorney General to shut this down. With Brooklyn’s first legal cannabis retailers opening this month and illegal shops continuing to close, we are turning the corner towards building a stronger, safer cannabis industry.” – Hochul, in a press release

Following the action, AG James said that public health and safety are a “top priority” for officials: “New Yorkers who buy and use cannabis shouldn’t have to worry about the quality and safety of the products they are purchasing, which is why all shops must be licensed and regulated.”

Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s first licensed adult-use cannabis dispensary, Grow Together, opened on Tuesday, according to a Brooklyn Paper report.

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