Feb. 3, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
Queens District 19 Councilwoman Vickie Paladino joined members of the NYC Sheriff’s Office in raiding two Whitestone smoke shops that have allegedly been selling cannabis products without the necessary licenses on Jan. 24. The raids occurred at Izzy Convenience Shop at 14-05 Parsons Blvd. and Stoney Smoke Shop at 14-03 150th St.
According to Paladino, in addition to illegally selling cannabis, these shops had also been marketing the products to kids. Hallucinatory mushrooms were also confiscated by the Sheriff’s Office.
“They cleaned the places out,” Paladino said. “It was a very successful day. I want to thank [New York City] Sheriff [Anthony Miranda]. I want to thank his officers. This was a terrific joint effort and I look forward to many, many more.”
In addition to Sheriff Miranda and his officers, Paladino thanked Deputy Mayor Phil Banks for helping in this effort to clean out the smoke shops. She also said that there will likely be more smoke shops that will be cleaned out in the near future.
While New York City did legalize the recreational sale of cannabis in 2021, stores are required to register for and be approved to receive a license in order to be allowed to sell the products. The first 36 retail licenses were issued last November, with the first dispensaries opening their doors in December. There are still many shops across the city waiting for licenses to be issued.
“Illegal smoke shops who market to kids have been spreading throughout the city due to the botched implementation of cannabis legalization in NYC,” Paladino said. “Big changes have to be made and I’m introducing legislation to do that. In the meantime, these illegal businesses are harming our community and I will continue to work with the NYPD, Sheriff and Mayor’s office to shut them down any way I can.”
While many shops have been following the process to receive a license to legally sell cannabis, there have also been shops around the city selling without them. The NYC Sheriff’s Office has been working to clamp down on these stores.
“I’m proud to have been leading the charge against illegal smoke shops in our community,” Paladino said. “Safety and quality of life in District 19 is my top priority and I am out there fighting every single day for my constituents. Rest assured that this is just the beginning.”