Yorktown police get creative to shut down store selling marijuana illegally

The Office of Cannabis Management only has 14 investigators for the entire state, with several thousand open investigations

Emily Young

Apr 2, 2024, 9:26 PM

Updated 15 days ago

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Y Town Convenience and Tobacco store on Commerce Street in Yorktown was supposed to be selling cigars and candy, but it turns out they were also selling marijuana illegally.
Police did not shut them down - they were closed by the building inspector.
About two weeks after the store opened, Yorktown police received a tip about illegal activity going on at the store, but they had to confirm it for themselves, so they sent in an underage criminal informant.
"Its a controlled buy where they go into the smoke shop," explained Officer Colin Houlihan, of the Yorktown PD. "We actually provide them with money, they make a couple transactions, come back out and hand us the product they received."
Typically, this is where the Office of Cannabis Management would get involved.
"OCM has a civil process where they can check any shop, any shop that sells it, they can go in, inspect it, if they find anything illegal, they shut them down," explained Detective Sgt. Mark Rapisarda
But the Office of Cannabis Management only has 14 investigators for the entire state, with several thousand open investigations.
"They're so short staffed that its difficult to get them here to help," added Detective Hannigan
So, OCM never showed up, and that forced police to get creative in order to shut them down.
They started a criminal investigation which let them seize the illegal product, but not shut the store down.
So finally, they contacted the building inspector, and he was the only one who was able to shut down the place. And he did it with a building code violation.
"Town code I believe its 300-196," said Yorktown building inspector John Landi. "If you're using your premises for illegal or improper use, we can revoke your Certificate of Occupancy. Once its pulled, I can keep it pulled forever."
The town currently has a six-month moratorium on any new tobacco stores in an effort to prevent what happened here from happening again. But that's a temporary fix for a problem with no long-term solution.
News 12 reached out to the Office of Cannabis Management multiple times but did not hear back in time for this story.


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