Nuisance abatement’ cases are still pending in court, with just four filed so far, all in the East Village.
Mayor Eric Adams had firm words on Feb. 7 for the operators of smoke shops selling cannabis illegally just as New York’s first legal pot shops were getting business underway.
“We wanted to let them know that we’re not going to stand idly by and we won’t stop until every illegal smoke shop is rolled up and stubbed out,” Adams said at a press conference with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix and other officials announcing a crackdown on the proliferating storefronts.
That day, city lawyers brought four cases to Manhattan Supreme Court, each seeking to have a judge declare an East Village business a nuisance for selling cannabis without a license, a new enforcement approach. In each case, an NYPD officer had entered the store with a 20-year-old auxiliary officer, who proceeded to purchase cannabis products on three occasions.
This week one such business on First Avenue was shut down by court order. Another, on St. Marks Place, is still operating under a partial injunction that only forbids selling cannabis products — something it’s not licensed to do anyway.
As of Friday, the other two remained fully open while their nuisance abatement cases are pending, with customers casually walking in and and out to buy product.
One store simply called Broadway, at 736 Broadway just south of Astor Place, is a block away from Housing Works Cannabis Co., the first store licensed for adult recreational retail sales by New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management.
At this unlicensed store on Thursday, customers bought joints, called pre-rolls, and said they preferred buying cannabis at prices lower than those charged at the city’s two licensed retail outlets. Theo Rose, who works near the unlicensed shop at 736 Broadway, said he’s already shopped there several times, adding that what drives him there is “the affordability, period.” In contrast, at Housing Works “It’s 60 bucks for an eighth plus tax. I’m not doing that,” Rose said.