3 smoke shops shut down, marijuana and THC products seized by Yonkers police
A handful of smoke shops have been shut down as part of a crackdown on unlicensed marijuana and THC products in Yonkers.
Police say a total of three shops have been shut down following ongoing compliance inspections taking place all over the city.
The businesses are closed pending compliance. They were operating at 186 Ashburton Ave., 850 Bronx River Road and 15 Palisade Ave. Police say these businesses were also violating building codes, fire department codes and selling products like marijuana without proper licenses.
Mayor Mike Spano said because the state has not approved rules, regulations nor given out dispensary licenses, it is not yet legal to sell marijuana in stores. Therefore, any smoke shop caught selling recreational marijuana will face the full force of the law.
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"Until New York does what they have to do, we are going to do what we have to do which is to enforce the licensing provisions that exist in New York state law," Spano said.
Community advocates said pop-up smoke shops operating without licenses and selling products illegally have become a huge problem. Meghan DuBois O'Conner, of POWR Against Tobacco, said the concerns reach beyond illegally selling recreational marijuana.
"We have an arm of program called Reality Check and it deals specifically with our youth, and they are telling us that they are able to buy these products, even flavored e-cigarettes that were banned in May of 2020," DuBois O'Conner said.
The state's Office of Cannabis Management is currently reviewing applications for marijuana dispensary licenses to sell adult use cannabis.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has said the first products to be sold on shelves will be homegrown.
Legal sales are expected to begin by the end of the year.
The smoke shops that were shut down do have the possibility of reopening. They can't sell marijuana unless they have the right licenses and follow the letter of the law.
Spano added that smoke shops caught illegally selling marijuana could be hurting their chances of being awarded a dispensary license to legally sell.