Yonkers officials warn illegal cannabis sellers that they will find and arrest them
Westchester's largest city is cracking down on smoke shops.
In a news conference Thursday, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said the illegal sale of cannabis products is getting worse citywide.
The Yonkers Smoke Shop task force has confiscated more than $30,000 worth of unregulated cannabis, vape and THC products in the last six months.
They're now also finding these products at gas stations, bodegas and even barbershops throughout the city.
These products often have packaging targeting children.
“We have shops operating near schools,” said Spano. “The substances are clearly being advertised and targeted to our children. Wrapped with images of cartoons and neon colors like candy."
Some of the products can even be dangerous to adult consumers.
"They're finding things like heavy metals, unregulated pesticides and microbioles, bacteria and fungi that can make you sick,” said Dr. Stefanie Widmer of St. John's Riverside Hospital. “If you're buying unregulated cannabis products, you're putting yourself at risk. If you're selling them, you're putting people at unnecessary risk for a financial incentive.”
Spano says the city is doing what it can to shut these places down, but they need help.
"In the past six months, we've shut down four shops. But it's not improving, and we need help. That's why we're calling on the State of New York to enhance their regulations," says Spano.
Without the proper regulations in place, the city has had to use building and fire code violations to shut down those businesses.
They say they will continue to do so in the absence of any real regulations from the state.
Officials are also issuing a warning to anyone selling any of these products in Yonkers.
"We will arrest you, confiscate your illegal products, and shut you down using the task force,” said police commissioner Chris Sapienza.