Exclusive: News 12 rides along with the NYC Sheriff’s Office for illegal cannabis crackdowns
The New York City Sheriff’s Office says it has been receiving more complaints about unlicensed smoke shops, and News 12 joined them as they popped in on some in the Bronx.
News 12 joined the New York City Sheriff’s Office as they swept shelves clean in the illegal smoke shops, and it’s the first time these smoke shop busts have ever been captured on camera in the Bronx.
“Community complaints are very important to us, it’s how we get a lot of information,” said Sheriff Anthony Miranda. “We also identify locations that are by schools and houses of worship.”
The impromptu inspections aren’t only to find illegally sold marijuana, but flavored vapes, tobacco, THC edibles and untaxed cigarettes as well.
Across the six Bronx shops that were hit, 90 pounds of edibles, 19 pounds of cannabis, over 3,100 flavored vapes, and 26 cartons of cigarettes were confiscated, adding up to 215 violations, nine summonses, one arrest, and $187,000 in fines.
Stores more often than not are able to remain open while the process plays out in court.
“They're clearly not following any rules that have already been established and have made no indication that they want to participate in the legal market,” said Miranda. “We're still giving them the opportunity when we go in and do an inspection that this is how you participate in the legal market, refer them to Office of Cannabis Management, go there.”
Multiagency teams consisting of the New York City Sheriff’s Office, the Office of Cannabis Management, and even the Department of Buildings are now working through a list of about 1,400 locations citywide that are potentially selling products illegally, meaning police are now doing these runs two to three times per week.
“It's something that's going to grow and evolve as they more along,” said Miranda. “As the industry changes as they get more creative about how they sell the illegal and unlicensed products, then we need to get more creative in our response.”