" "

Councilwoman Gale Brewer sheds light on failures in cannabis enforcement

0 43

A recent raid conducted by the city sheriff’s office on the Zaza Waza smoke shop situated on the Upper West Side unveiled a concerning reality regarding cannabis enforcement. In an operation carried out last January, authorities seized hundreds of illegal tobacco and cannabis products from the establishment, which has been operational since April 2022.

Despite being slapped with 47 violations and accumulating penalties amounting to $225,000, the store was padlocked under directives from the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, only to resume operations by Thursday morning.

City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, vocal on the issue of illegal smoke shops, expressed her dismay at the situation, labeling it as “lawless.” Brewer had intended to utilize a news conference on Thursday morning to showcase the city’s ability to employ tobacco laws effectively in shuttering unlicensed vendors. However, the resurgence of Zaza Waza served as a stark reminder of the challenges in combating stores that disregard regulations.

Highlighting the persistent struggle to rein in unlicensed cannabis outlets, Brewer emphasized the need for stronger legislative measures. She underscored the importance of granting cities greater authority to padlock stores selling cannabis, a move supported by Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul. Brewer’s office conducted a recent survey, revealing a concerning surge in the number of illegal weed sellers on the Upper West Side, doubling from 26 to 53 in just 15 months.

With only 82 legal dispensaries statewide, including 35 in the city, and the imminent opening of the first cannabis dispensary on the Upper West Side, attention is turning towards comprehensive cannabis enforcement legislation. While the state Senate has signaled its backing for such measures, the stance of the state Assembly leadership remains uncertain, leaving the fate of cannabis enforcement in a state of limbo. Brewer stressed the urgent need for collaboration between state and city authorities, lamenting the apparent shortage of state inspectors tasked with overseeing cannabis compliance.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *