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New York Mayor Leads Effort to Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Sales in City’s Neighborhoods

New York authorities have launched ‘Operation Padlock to Protect’ in a renewed effort to use ‘the full force of the law’ to shut down illegal cannabis shops and block their continued profileration.

Yesterday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the launch of a five-borough operation, putting into effect a raft of new enforcement powers granted by the state last month.

Business of Cannabis reported in April that New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new five-point plan to significantly increase the fight against New York’s thriving illicit cannabis market, after more than a year of civil actions that have failed to make a dent.

“Today, our administration is delivering on a promise to shut down unlicensed smoke and cannabis shops, protect our young people, and ensure that the future of legal cannabis burns bright in New York City,” said Mayor Adams.

These strong words were echoed by the Mayor’s Chief Advisor, Ingrid P. Lewis-Martin, who added: “The proliferation of unlicensed smoke and cannabis shops in New York City is one of the biggest quality of life issues facing New Yorkers.

“Thanks to our partnership with the governor’s office and the New York state Legislature, those unlicensed shops’ days are numbered. We now have the ability to implement procedures needed to permanently close illegal weed shops. Soon, New Yorkers will be rid of these bad actors.”

Under the new plan the Office of Cannabis Management will be given the authority to ‘padlock’ businesses immediately following an inspection if they are selling illicit cannabis.

Furthermore, authorities will be authorized to padlock unlicensed businesses, and issue misdemeanor penalties for damaging or removing the padlock.

Next, Hochul took aim at ‘landlords who turn a blind eye to illegal activity’. Now, any landlords who fail to bring forward eviction proceedings against tenants in violation of the law will face a $50,000 fine, or five times the rent from the time the landlord was notified of the violation.

Local counties and cities will also be granted greater powers to dictate their own laws relating to unlicensed businesses, and will be given the power to initiate emergency proceedings against businesses and landlords.

A new statewide task force is also set to be established to ramp up action, close the illegal stores, and target the suppliers of unlicensed cannabis coming into the state.

New York City Sheriff Anthony Miranda continued: “We fully embrace the mayor’s vision of a multi-agency response and joint collaboration between all enforcement agencies, and we will continue to lead those efforts to protect the health and safety of our communities.”

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