NEW YORK (PIX11) — In the new age of legal recreational marijuana sales in New York City, it’s become hard to distinguish the legal dispensaries from the many illegal shops brazenly operating across the city.

Newly announced legislation from the New York City Council aims to go after the people who indirectly profit by collecting rent from unlicensed smoke shops.

Queens City Council member Lynn Schulman, Manhattan City Council member Carlina Rivera, and several other interested parties chose Union Square Travel Agency – one of the city’s few legally operating dispensaries – as their backdrop for Monday’s announcement.

“The enforcement efforts up to now have targeted the businesses. This is targeting landlords who actually have stake in the community, or stake in their property,” said Schulman.

“The whole point of the legal market, and of the shops that we are seeing, you’ll be able to trace from the seed to the sale,” Rivera added.

NYPD Assistant Chief Jim McCarthy said there are around 44 businesses illegally selling weed in Manhattan south of 59th Street. City officials pointed to Magic Puff on Third Avenue as one of them. Sure enough, no business by that name is listed as an officially licensed New York state dispensary.

But the storefront has signage that advertises itself as a dispensary, and inside PIX11 News saw what appeared to be marijuana flower and other products described as containing THC on display and for sale.

When the sales clerk asked PIX11 News to leave, we did and then went outside and spoke to a couple of neighborhood residents.

“I’m for getting rid of these people and not having the illegal ones open up,” said Irene, who lives in Gramercy.

New York University student Obinna Nwaokoro added, “I wouldn’t even consider all the ones that you see to be illegal. That’s surprising though. How do they get all this infrastructure?”

Under the new City Council legislation, Magic Puff’s landlord would presumably receive the first of two warning letters before that landlord gets slapped with escalating fines that start at $5,000 and increase to $10,000 for each subsequent inspection violation.

PIX11 News attempted to contact the landlord of the Magic Puff shop. There are two connected corporate entities connected to the property, in addition to a single person. No one responded to PIX11’s request for comment.

That is a possible indication of the challenge city officials may have in trying to hold landlords, and ultimately, illegal weed shops, accountable.