Unlicensed dispensaries are blanketing a number of New York City neighborhoods – City & State New York

Gale Brewer chairs the New York City Council Oversight and Investigations Committee, which gives her jurisdiction over the city Department of Small Business Services and other agencies involved in implementing the state’s marijuana laws. Brewer chaired a committee hearing on the rising number of unlicensed dispensaries in the city and once sent staffers to canvas the Upper West Side to determine how many smoke shops were operating illegally in her district. She has suggested the state raise fines on unlicensed shops and target retailers operating near schools and houses of worship.

How well is New York’s adult-use cannabis program working? 

Back in October 2022, we sent out interns to go from 54th Street to 208th Street on the West Side of Manhattan and we found 64 illegal cannabis shops. It’s a huge number on the Upper West Side, and the part that’s most disturbing is that many of them are near high schools. I’m conscious of the fact that principals are seeing students vaping, and that’s never happened before.

It’s a hard time to keep up with what agencies are doing. One closed and reopened. My first experience was to go out with a sheriff. We did three raids, and it took the

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