New York City officials are pushing a new method for cracking down on illegal weed shops in the city: going after the landlords.
More than half of the City Council’s members are sponsoring a bill that will lead to serious penalties for people who knowingly lease space to unlicensed sellers of marijuana, tobacco and other controlled substances.
“This bill seeks to address a pressing issue that has plagued our neighborhoods for far too long: the presence of illegal businesses operating under the guise of legitimate enterprises,” Councilmember Lynn Schulman, the bill’s prime sponsor, said during a public safety hearing on Tuesday. “By holding landlords accountable for knowingly enabling these illegal activities, we can restore the trust and security that our residents deserve.”
The state legalized marijuana two years ago. Since then, New York City has struggled to crack down on unlicensed dispensaries – which aren’t required to sell products that are grown and processed by regulated in-state retailers.
Last year, Mayor Eric Adams created a task force specifically aimed at these unlicensed – and untaxed – sellers. In February, the Manhattan district attorney asked landlords to evict tenants who are operating these illegal shops. And last month, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation as part