Who is supplying NYC’s illegal weed shops?
Unlicensed weed shops are popping up all over New York City. But if these stores aren’t licensed to do business, it begs the question, where are they getting their supply from? FOX 5 NY’s Arthur Chi’en tagged along with the YNC Sheriff’s Office on a bust to get some answers.
NEW YORK – Illegal weed shops have popped up all over New York City, raising the question: if those stores aren’t licensed to do business, where are they getting their supply from?
FOX 5 NY went along with the New York City Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, when a horde of police cars descended on Jackie’s Garden, not quite hidden on the corner where the Jackie Robinson Parkway ends and converges with Bushwick, Jamaica, and Pennsylvania avenues.
Multiple law enforcement agencies took part in the raid, the latest chapter of the city’s war on illegal weed sales.
Inside the unlicensed store, authorities discovered trap compartments hiding illegal contraband. Police seized upwards of $100,000 at the location, made up of a combination of illegal weed, illegal weed products, and cash.
Three people inside the store were arrested and handcuffed.
The New York State Office of Cannabis Management says $57 million of illegal cannabis was seized in the state last year.
So, FOX 5 NY decided to dig further to try and discover where the illegal flow was coming from.
While sorting through the evidence at Jackie’s Garden, FOX 5 NY found countless products targeting children – which is illegal in New York State. Most of the packaged products had QR codes which, when scanned, went to dead-end sites, or to producers in California.
“The majority of the illegal weed coming into New York state is actually legally manufactured in other states,” said Damian Fagon from the NYS Office of Cannabis Management. “California. Michigan. Now, Maine, there are a lot of growers.”
Fagon says those growers aren’t finding enough buyers in their state, so they are now moving their product onto New York City’s streets, leading to the proliferation of illegal weed stores.
Fagon details the economics of it: “The price per pound of legal cannabis has dropped from $1500 to $200. And when they only can sell their pound for $200 in a legal shop in Michigan, but $2,000 in New York State… That’s the supply and demand that is really bringing a lot of that product to New York.”
The Office of Cannabis Management believes their increased enforcement, which now includes holding landlords accountable for renting to shops selling illegal cannabis, will slowly but surely dry out retail location options for those who enter the recreational cannabis market illegally.