The New York City Police Department (NYPD) on Tuesday filed four lawsuits against companies it accuses of selling cannabis illegally in Manhattan. The complaints allege that a police officer observed the sale of cannabis products at these establishments to underage individuals and seeks to shut them down for the illegal sale of cannabis products and operating without a license.
Additionally, the Manhattan district attorney’s office mailed letters to more than 400 known smoke shops in the borough, warning them of the potential for eviction proceedings for unlawful cannabis sales.
In a press release, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) said that while cannabis legalization “was a major step forward for equity and justice” city officials are “not going to take two steps back by letting illegal smoke shops take over this emerging market.”
“We are laser-focused on protecting the health and well-being of New Yorkers and ensuring this emerging industry delivers equity to those who deserve it the most. I also want to acknowledge the tireless work of the New York City Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office to combat the proliferation of unlicensed smoke shops across our city and keep New Yorkers safe.” — Adams in a statement
District Attorney Alvin Bragg said that shops have been selling “unlicensed, unregulated, and untaxed cannabis products” for nearly two years throughout Manhattan.
“Just as we don’t allow endless unlicensed bars and liquor stores to open on every corner, we cannot allow that for cannabis. It’s not safe to sell products that aren’t properly inspected and regulated for dosage, purity, and contaminants,” he said in a statement. “And it certainly isn’t fair to competing businesses. Advocates fought hard to put racial equity at the center of New York’s cannabis legalization regime.”
Bragg added that officials “want to give New York’s legal cannabis market a fair chance to thrive and give New Yorkers the security of knowing that a safe, orderly system is in place for cannabis dispensaries.”
“Together, we can level the playing field for New York’s legal cannabis market and deliver on the promise of equity and fairness that legalization advocates fought so long and hard for,” Bragg said in the statement.
The four lawsuits were filed against Runtz Tobacco, Saint Marks Convenience & Smoke Shop, Sogie Mart Rolls & Puffs, and Broadway.
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