Hochul Wants To Smoke Out NYC’s Illegal Marijuana Shops With New Bill

NEW YORK CITY — New York City’s budding plethora of unlicensed pot shops could face a harsh crack down under a new bill.

Legislation proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul this week would allow the state to quickly shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries and level $200,000 fines against them.

Doing so will help the state’s new legal cannabis industry, she said.

“The continued existence of illegal dispensaries is unacceptable, and we need additional enforcement tools to protect New Yorkers from dangerous products and support our equity initiatives,” she said in a statement.

Recreational marijuana is now legal, but there are currently only three dispensaries that can legally sell it in New York City.

By contrasts, city officials estimate there are roughly 1,400 shops illegally selling cannabis products.

City and state officials have engaged in a series of crackdowns against these unlicensed shops, but those have seemingly done little to stop them.

The bill proposed by Hochul would allow state Office of Cannabis Management, Department of Taxation and Finance and local law enforcement to enforce restrictions on unlicensed dispensaries.

Violations could result in fines up to $200,000 for unlicensed cannabis plants or products, and $10,000 a day for sales without a license, officials said.

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