Mayor Adams calls for tougher laws as illegal cannabis stores reach 1,500
“We have to zero in on this cannabis stuff,” Adams fumed to reporters at City Hall. “This cannabis stuff is a real problem! And we must make sure that we can’t have people [make] a mockery of our system!
“We go in, we do enforcement, and I think we can only do $250 fines,” he added. “I thought it was less than that. But that’s the cost of doing business [to sellers]. And our police officers can’t take the necessary action.”
Under New York’s 2021 law legalizing recreational marijuana, bad actors only get slapped with a criminal court summons accompanied by meager fines.
Adams noted an exclusive Post report last week that exposed an unlicensed marijuana shop brazenly selling pot products across the street from City Hall – that was only shut down after it was raided twice.
“We’re going to put a package [of bills] together just to deal with cannabis so this does not get out of hand. We are about up to about … 1,500 illegal cannabis shops,” the mayor said. “And it’s not only that they’re selling illegal cannabis, but they’re targeting young people!”
“Children are getting high on their way to school,” Adams ranted. “Children are taking these gummy bears. I must be old-fashioned. People don’t realize what’s happening in our country and in our city. We have to start refocusing!”
The state cannabis law does ban legal sellers from advertising cannabis products with attractive packaging or colors, but The Post has found multiple illegal sellers displaying products with innocuous-seeming names like “Cotton Cluster.”
“These children are waking up in the morning, going into the store, getting gummy bears that’s laced with marijuana, and then they’re going to go in school and learn? And they’re opening up all around us?” the mayor fumed. “No, no, no! We are losing our grip.
“And because I say ‘no’ to that, I got to be the bad guy. No! I just know what it takes to raise healthy children and families,” Adams went on, “and we have created an environment in this city and country where we are harming our children. We always talk about build a better planet for our children, we have to build better children for our planet!”
In addition to targeting kids for sales, illegal weed sellers have themselves become prime targets for robberies, with the NYPD responding to a string of shootings across the city in the last month.
Adams wants Albany to make it easier for city authorities to immediately close illicit smoke shops and increase fines.
Meanwhile, City Sheriff Anthony Miranda’s office has been handling the bulk of enforcement actions, seizing more than $4 million in illegal product last year.