BROOKLYN, NY – Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) and State Assemblyman Mike Tannousis on October 28 called on New York City to crack down on illegally operating unlicensed marijuana dispensaries popping up next to residential homes, schools, and community centers in the Bay Ridge neighborhood.
“Unlicensed pot shops are beginning to show up next to our homes, schools, churches and community centers and it’s critically important for the city and the NYPD to enforce the law and shut these illegal operations down,” Congresswoman Malliotakis said. “With crime skyrocketing and drugs pouring across our porous southern border and into communities across America, the last thing we need is illegal dispensaries popping up on our street corners – especially when the products they are selling are not being regulated. The failure of our city to crack down on these illegal operations is putting the public’s health and quality of life at risk and they must be shut down immediately”.
In March 2021, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law, however, New York has not administered any licenses, meaning all of the recreational marijuana dispensaries currently operating in the state are doing so illegally. Many shops are engaging in “gifting-schemes”, and in some cases, shop workers are unsure of the drugs they are selling.
“When this bill was introduced in the State Assembly, the Republican Conference – including myself – was adamantly against this bill”, Assemblyman Michael Tannousis said. “We’re stuck in a situation where the message is sent to the general public that you’re allowed to smoke weed and you’re allowed to sell it. Now we have a store a few feet away from a school that has put up Halloween decorations. They’re next to a pizzeria where kids after school go and grab something to eat. Marijuana is now easily accessible to the general public illegally as well as to our children. What type of message are we sending to our kids?”
“Marijuana is an entrance drug – an entrance to something much more dangerous to our kids”, said former Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny. “This entrance drug, and the smell of it on every corner of our city, is a sign of degradation of the Democratic Party. Pay very serious attention to this process of legalization of marijuana because it’s very dangerous for our kids. All the state cares about when it legalizes marijuana is more money for the state. Why? Because they want to spend more. We cannot allow this to happen anymore”.
“I’m standing here as an angry parent, as a constituent, a born and raised Brooklynite, New Yorker, and American”, said Brooklyn resident Ted Ghorra. “When I walked down the street with my kids and their friends after school, right around the corner I’m looking at a store called New York City Stoners. When you see a store that’s decorated for Halloween and has very colorful packages in the window, it is not okay – legal or illegal. They pass all kinds of laws that have consequences and are harmful to us as citizens, for the sake of money or some ideology that just doesn’t work”.