Unlicensed shops openly selling marijuana in NYC

Inside Big Chief at 3rd Avenue and 74th Street in the Brooklyn community of Bay Ridge, marijuana sales mark a transition in New York.

"We are not hiding anything," Big Chief co-owner Tank Denory told FOX 5 NY.

Big Chief is one of many stores and dispensaries in New York City operating without a license. The owners have applied but are waiting for approval. They opened their doors back in August.  

"These are weed dealers without a license," New York City Council Member Justin Brannan said.

Businesses operating without a license are part of a big problem, he added. The process of decriminalization involves paying taxes and knowing where cannabis is coming from, Brannan said.

In a statement, the state's Office of Cannabis Management said these businesses are breaking the law and that the office has worked with police to investigate "unlicensed shops in their municipalities."

"Simply put: you need a license to sell cannabis in New York. If you do not have one, you are not selling cannabis legally," the office said in the statement. "The Office of Cannabis Management implores all illegal store operators, including stores pretending to be legal operations, to stop selling cannabis products immediately or risk facing additional consequences."

But Big Chief said enforcement has never happened. 

"No cops," Denory said. 

FOX 5 NY asked the NYPD for clarification about what the department is doing about enforcement. 

"Under the new laws, a person cannot be charged with the sale of marihuana unless they receive compensation in exchange for the marihuana," the NYPD said in an email.