South Queens, NY – New York State Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-South Queens) met with the NYC Sheriff's Office to discuss and create an action plan to tackle the ongoing issue of unlicensed cannabis shops in the community. Shortly after the meeting, the NYC Sheriff's Office, who is responsible for the enforcement of the laws related to legal or illegal cannabis shops, reported that they had inspected an illegal shop in Howard Beach which resulted in 2 arrests, 4 C-summonses, 9 Notices of Violations with 34 violations and 205 counts of violations and an estimated $181,200 in penalties.
Pheffer Amato was one of the few State legislators to vote against the legalization of marijuana in 2021 citing concerns over the vehicle and driving laws while being “high” and the failure to provide law enforcement with the ability to tackle illegal stores. During the recent legislative session, Pheffer Amato was instrumental in securing provisions to increase law enforcement’s ability to crack down on illegal stores, along with levying civil and tax penalties for the unlicensed sale of cannabis in New York, which was included in the recent State budget.
“Unlicensed shops represent an enormous safety risk, not to mention are illegal. If a store is going to open, it must comply with the law-no exemption. Through State measures we are empowering the NYC Sheriff's Office to take tremendous steps to keep us safe and crack down on this issue. Our community owes the NYC Sheriff's Office a big thank you, and it is great to know that they are here to continuously combat this issue and remove illegal stores,” said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato.
According to the NYC Sheriff’s Office, over 1,024 inspections have been conducted city-wide, with $32,176,878 in Civil Penalties issued and $19,733,441 of illicit products have been seized. Over 181 total inspections (compliance and intelligence) have been conducted in the borough of Queens, and Pheffer Amato will continue to work with the Sheriff’s Office concerning this matter.