While legal marijuana shops continue to proliferate throughout New York City – with two already popping up on the Upper East Side this year (at 1412 Lex and 334 East 73rd Street) – the fight against illicit smoke shops continues.
Council Member Julie Menin participated in a raid of two UES smoke shops on January 17, sharing images of the surprise blitz on Instagram several days later.
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We followed up with Menin’s office and learned that the following stores were targeted:
Tobacco n Vape Inc, located at 1171 Second Avenue (between 61st and 62nd streets): The operator of the location was charged with Unlawful Sale of Cannabis (Violation).
Queen Cannabis NYC (owned by Zabrothers LLC), located at 304 East 62nd Street (between First and Second avenues): The operators of the location were arrested and charged with Criminal Possession of Cannabis in the 3rd degree.
According to the NYC Sheriff’s Office, “These inspections were part of a larger inspection operation which resulted in 2 arrests, 5 Summonses, 7 Notice of Violations (NOV’s) with 26 violations and 123 counts of violations, and an estimated $158,800.00 in penalties. The following contraband items were seized: 15.9 cartons of cigarettes, 114 packages of other tobacco products, 2,628 flavored vape products, 498 THC vapes, 515 packages of THC flower weighing a total of 8.047 lbs., 570 THC pre-roll weighing a total of 1.21 lbs. and 320 packages of THC edibles weighing a total of 34.98 lbs.”
In a statement sent to East Side Feed, Menin says “I will continue to successfully crack down on smoke shops violating our laws,” adding, “Our City Council is ensuring that bad actors including landlords who knowingly violate our laws face consequences for their actions. During my tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, the City stopped the proliferation of businesses selling synthetic marijuana known as K2 and implemented a successful public awareness campaign to warn against the dangers of purchasing this dangerous mind-altering chemical. I will work with my Council colleagues to pass legislation that requires the City to create a public awareness campaign on the dangers of purchasing cannabis products from unlicensed retailers.”