NYC Council looking for answers to explosion of illegal weed shops

Nine months into the year, thousands of illegal smoke shops remain open on New York City's streets. 

Compare that to the mere 24 legal retail dispensaries that have opened across the entire state.

In New York City, despite crackdowns, illegal shops resume business, sometimes the next day. Sources tell FOX 5 NY that many stores build the cost of getting busted into their operations.


Dispensary owners waiting to open remain in confusing state of limbo

Now the judge has reversed course again, asking for evidence from the state Office of Cannabis Management that those retailers have met all licensing requirements.

"Now we have 65 between 54th and 108th street. Just yesterday school's beginning..." said City Council Member Gale Brewer. "...and there's another one right near a school. I don't know how they end up within 500 feet of a school."

At a City Council hearing on Wednesday, officials demanded information from the state on data the state collects regarding illegal shops. Also calling for a new 311 complaint category specifically for calls on unlicensed retailers, as well as a public awareness campaign warning of the dangers of buying from illegal sellers. Both officials and individuals who testified emphasize concerns over the targeting of youths.

"New York City's school staffers are reporting an uptick among students and many unlicensed smoke shops are using marketing tactics to appeal to young people." City Council Member Marjorie Velazquez said while requesting the PSA campaign.