Illegal Weed Retailers of the UWS: Report

  Last modified on March 19th, 2024

Gale Brewer sent out a Monday morning email about the currently active illegal marijuana retailers of the Upper West Side; according to an analysis conducted by her office, there are 26 of them.

“The survey of 61 bodegas, delis, smoke shops and newsstands by Brewer’s office revealed 22 of the 26 illicit cannabis retailers also sell tobacco products, some of them without a tobacco license, according to public data,” her email states.


“I am concerned that the free-for-all environment will become entrenched and undermine the law’s intent before the legal market takes shape,” Brewer said. “There are public health risks such as underage use and contaminated products. The city and state miss out on tax revenue, which we need, and is used to fund the law’s social equity programs. Leverage to reduce violent crime and limit participation in illegal markets goes away.”

“There is no ambiguity in the law, it’s illegal to sell cannabis without a license, but there’s ambiguity in who should enforce it,” said Brewer, who called on city and state officials to come up with solutions. “The NYPD apparently directed precincts not to enforce cannabis laws, the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection does not have authority over cannabis products, and the New York State Office of Cannabis Management only has authority over already-licensed retailers,” Brewer said.

Brewer also wrote a letter to various agencies with the aim of increased enforcement. Here’s the letter.

To address concerns and questions about the budding industry as it will exist in the neighborhood, Council Member Brewer and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal are hosting a West Side Cannabis Town Hall on Tuesday, December 13. Here’s more info on that.

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