New York Mayor Eric Adams and prosecutors are going after landlords in an effort to curb hundreds of illegal shops selling marijuana across Manhattan.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office sent warning notices to more than 400 shops illegally selling cannabis, DA Alvin Bragg said during a Tuesday news conference, the Associated Press reported.
The notices warned property owners of potential evictions if the unlicensed shops do not cease operations.
The enforcement ramp-up is the latest attempt by New York lawmakers and regulators to rein in a thriving illicit market that’s been largely unchecked for years.
In November and December, a task force convened by Adams seized an estimated $4 million worth of illegal product and issued 500 civil violations and 66 criminal summonses.
The state Office of Cannabis Management began sending dozens of cease-and-desist notices to offending sellers last year.
As many as 1,400 unlicensed stores are selling marijuana products in New York City, which has jeopardized the state’s choppy rollout of adult-use retail.
Despite legalizing recreational marijuana sales in March 2021 and lofty projections from regulators and the governor, only two adult-use stores are open in the entire state – both in Lower Manhattan.
And one is a nonprofit.
Selling marijuana without a license in New York state is currently punishable by a $250 fine, a penalty seen as too lenient to discourage violators.