Hordes of illegal cannabis stores invade NYC

There are “probably tens of thousands of illegal cannabis businesses” currently operating in bodegas, smoke shops and other storefronts in New York City — with many of the pop-up shops selling bad or dangerously tainted weed, a new study shows.

The survey, conducted by the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association — in partnership with the NJ Cannabis Trade Association and the Connecticut Medical Cannabis Council — bought cannabis products from 20 unlicensed stores that publicly advertise marijuana sales and left have the products tested by an independent laboratory.

Laboratory results revealed potentially deadly E. coli, salmonella, heavy metals and pesticides in many products.

About 40% of THC products have failed at least one of the standard tests performed on legal cannabis products and only available at legal medicinal cannabis dispensaries, according to the study.

The lab results also provided an example of THC levels more than double those advertised – with gummy bears labeled as 100 mg THC tested at 204.77 mg at one store, the survey claims.

The study states that unlicensed pop-up shops are selling tainted cannabis.

Eight other stores had flowered or other cannabis products tested at lower THC levels than advertised, the study claimed.

Half of the locations didn’t ask for identification – a big problem as youth under the age of 21 are barred from purchasing cannabis or THC products. Recent studies show that cannabis use among young adults and adolescents has skyrocketed nationwide as more states have legalized recreational marijuana sales.

The report also claimed that 100% of cannabis-flowered products and edibles violated New York State’s stringent regulations.

Equally startling is the study’s admission that there are “probably tens of thousands of illegal cannabis businesses currently operating out of bodegas, smoke shops, or other retail outlets” that are licensed to sell other products. “The estimated number of illegal ‘backroom’ venues in New York City is far too large,” the study states.

illegal cannabis stores
The study found that “thousands” of bodegas and black market outlets were illegally selling cannabis.

Aside from the health hazards of buying from illegal cannabis dealers, the proliferation of black market stores and mobile trucks that pay lower or no taxes on their products threatens to undermine New York State’s newly licensed cannabis operators, who are obligated to follow the rules and pay higher taxes that drive up the cost of their products.

The state last week issued 36 licenses — 28 to entrepreneurs and eight to nonprofit groups — for the retail sale of cannabis. But The Post uncovered unregulated businesses already boldly operating across the city, including neat neighborhoods like Kew Gardens.

Jars filled with marijuana leaves will be on display at the Weed World Store in Midtown New York on March 31, 2021.  - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legalizing recreational marijuana on March 31, 2021, with a large portion of tax revenue from sales going to minority communities.  New York joins 14 other US states and the District of Columbia in approving cannabis after lawmakers in both state chambers, where Cuomo's Democratic Party holds strong majorities, backed the law on March 30.

Thousands of unlicensed businesses sell cannabis in New York City.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 7: Individual marijuana plants in plastic cups ready to be distributed at the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally in Union Square on May 7, 2022 in New York City.  Despite the heavy rain, dozens turned out under umbrellas for the rally.  This year's event celebrates a year of legalization in New York.  (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

A new study found unlicensed stores are selling marijuana contaminated with salmonella, E. coli and lead.

“These bad actors pose a clear threat that could undermine both the burgeoning industry and the health of New York residents and visitors,” the study concluded.

“The report’s findings are deeply disturbing and highlight the enormous risks posed by unscrupulous companies operating above the law,” said NYMCIA President Ngiste Abebe.

“New York has a responsibility not only to protect the health and safety of its residents, but also to fulfill the promise of a socially just market for adult use. Neither goal can do that
be accomplished without stricter enforcement against bad actors.”

Cannabis license applicant Juancarlos Huntt, co-founder of New York for Social and Economic Equity, fumed: “They are opportunists who re-traumatize our community and prevent us from building wealth.

“They are poisoning our black and brown communities. You can’t build fortune without health, and these smoke shop owners are destroying the reputation of New York’s cannabis with their chemicals. They must be stopped.”

https://nypost.com/2022/11/30/hordes-of-illegal-cannabis-shops-invade-nyc/ Hordes of illegal cannabis stores invade NYC


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing diza@ustimetoday.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button