NEW YORK (PIX11) – A law that aims to curb the influx of unlicensed smoke shops in New York City is in effect.
The legislation, which went into effect in July, means that any commercial landlords who knowingly rent storefronts to unlicensed smoke shops will be fined. Lawmakers said their goal is to stop illegal stores from popping up.
A landlord that leases to an unlicensed seller of marijuana or tobacco will be fined $5,000 for a first-time infraction under the law. Every subsequent failed inspection by the Sheriff’s Office will cost $10,000.
City legislators have cited reports that there are around 8,000 illegal unlicensed smoke shops in the city and billions in unlicensed sales statewide.
Councilmembers said that some of the products in these stores could pose a health risk if they are unregulated and they undermine licensed sellers while taking away tax revenue.
“These illegal weed shops are creating a public safety crisis for our communities and this is something that we really need to take in hand,” said Councilmember Lynn Schulman.