NEW YORK (PIX11) — Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joined PIX11 Morning News on Monday to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the borough, including crime, marijuana legalization, development, and the debate between the QueensWay park proposal and the QueensLink transit plan.
“Certainly what we’re seeing with these smoke shops is a black market,” said Richards, referring to recent crimes targeting such businesses. “These individuals are holding these owners hostage because they know that they’re not supposed to necessarily be selling marijuana at this point because licenses are just getting issued.”
Richards added, however, that when legal marijuana sales ramp up, it will be a boon for the borough.
“This is going to be a game changer,” said Richards. “When you look at communities like southern Queens, [the NYPD’s] 105th Precinct led the city in marijuana summonses and arrests for nearly two decades. To now have marijuana justice for communities that were most impacted is certainly a welcome step. But we have to make sure that, as this market emerges, that the individuals closest to the pain are the ones who reap the biggest benefits.”
Watch the full interview in the video player.