Police Say NYC Has Over 1,300 Illegal Marijuana Dispensaries: Reports

There are reportedly more than 1,300 suspected illegal marijuana shops in New York,

According to Fox 5 New York, the New York Police Department said there are roadblocks to confiscating cannabis sold without a license.

The NYC Sheriff’s Office shared images on social media showing business inspections. A lengthy investigation in Far Rockaway resulted in undercover purchases and seizures of marijuana, concentrated cannabis, vape products and THC-containing foods in December.

At a City Council hearing Wednesday, Sheriff Anthony Miranda — who heads a recently formed interagency task force — said “teams will be sent to all five boroughs on different days of the week,” Gothamist reported.

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A person rolls a marijuana cigar

A person rolls a marijuana cigar while waiting in line for the Housing Works Cannabis Co. grand opening. December 29, 2022 in New York. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“We conduct long-term and short-term investigations,” he said.

The task force is also reportedly targeting stores for trademark infringement, and Miranda reported that inspections have resulted in three arrests so far.

New York City Police Uniform

NYPD uniform (Luiz C. Ribeiro/The New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“The goal is not necessarily to make arrests, but when the law requires it, we will,” he continued, also noting that reducing inconvenience “takes a little time because the person has to have due process.”

Last month, Mayor Eric Adams said the task force worked — over a two-week period — to seize more than $4 million worth of illegally sold products and issue 566 civil and criminal summonses.


There were two felony arrests and one outstanding warrant arrest.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams leaves after speaking at the US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting on January 18, 2023 in Washington, DC (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“We will not allow the economic opportunities that legal cannabis offers to be usurped by unlicensed facilities,” Adams said in a statement. “Thanks to this joint interagency task force pilot, the city and state have worked together to crack down on bad actors who threaten the health and safety of New Yorkers – especially young people – and who seek to cross the border and undermine the law. It’s high time that unlicensed shops stop selling illegal produce and act in accordance with the law.”

“We have an obligation to support the legal cannabis industry and create a fair chance for legal dispensaries to succeed, and that means taking action against those who continue to operate illegally by selling contraband and avoiding taxes,” Miranda said at the time. “The collective efforts of the task force, under the leadership of Mayor Adams, send a clear message to illegal businesses that their actions will not be tolerated and that they will be required to comply with permitting laws.”

People wait in line outside the Housing Works Cannabis Company

People wait in line outside the Housing Works Cannabis Co. during the opening of the first legal cannabis dispensary in New York on December 29, 2022. (Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)


Only one legal pot shop is currently open in New York City, and another is expected to open next week.

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