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NY Post
New York Post
29 Apr 2023

NextImg:NYC bill would crack down on landlords renting space to illegal pot shops

A Queens pol wants to smoke out rogue landlords who “knowingly” lease space to illegal pot shops.

A bill introduced earlier this month by Democratic City Councilwoman Lynn Schulman would require the city Sheriff’s office, NYPD, and other authorities to issue written warnings to a landlord whenever fines or other penalties are handed out to a tenant for running unlicensed marijuana businesses.

If the shop is penalized again and the landlord has not yet begun eviction proceedings — such as was the case earlier this year with a shop that operated smugly across the street from City Hall — the property owner would face $1,000 fines for first offenses and $2,000 for additional offenses.

“We must look all kinds of avenues on how to crack down on the problem – including landlords,” Schulman told The Post. “These [shops] sell to kids. Many operate cash-only … with the state losing revenue, and they also affect legal [weed] businesses who are suffering.”

City Councilwoman Lynn Schulman’s bill would fine landlords who knowingly rent to tenants operating unlicensed cannabis dispensaries.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post

There are currently five legal cannabis dispensaries operating in New York City. There are more than 1,500 illegal pot shops.

The bill is gaining bipartisan steam with 20 other Council members co-sponsoring it, and Schulman said she expects it to become law.

Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul have been trying to tackle the widespread problem of illegal pot shops since recreational marijuana use became legal statewide in 2021 by directing crackdowns on sellers, with much less attention paid to landlords.

Illegal pot shop.
There are roughly 1,500 illegal pot shops operating in the Big Apple.
J.C. Rice

Hochul pitched new legislation last month that would slap businesses $10,000 per day for selling pot without a license and fine stores peddling black market weed from out of state up to $200,000. However, multiple lawyers told The Post last week they feel that plan is doomed because the shadowy operators effectively hide behind legal loopholes.