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Mayor Adams launches ‘Operation Padlock to Protect’, seals 75 illegal smoke, cannabis shop, issues $6m penalties

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In a resolute push against illicit cannabis and smoke retailers, New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled the comprehensive results of the inaugural week of “Operation Padlock to Protect.”

This multi-agency enforcement drive swiftly shuttered 75 unlawful establishments citywide, imposing nearly $6 million in penalties and issuing over 3,800 violations for non-compliance, reaffirming the administration’s steadfast commitment to uphold public safety and regulate the burgeoning legal cannabis market.

Under the banner of “Operation Padlock to Protect,” the New York City Sheriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force, comprising personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, NYPD, and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), executed a series of targeted operations across the city between May 4 and May 11.

These efforts aimed to curtail the proliferation of illegal cannabis and smoke shops that have long plagued neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

“Week one of ‘Operation Padlock to Protect’ reaffirms what we’ve long said: With the backing of legal authority behind us, our administration will act swiftly to combat illegal cannabis and smoke shop operators,” remarked Mayor Adams.

The enforcement drive, enabled by recent legislative changes granting municipalities enhanced regulatory powers, marks a turning point in the battle against illicit operators.

Mayor Adams’ advocacy in Albany paved the way for accelerated action, empowering local law enforcement to respond decisively to illegal storefronts peddling cannabis, THC edibles, untaxed cigarettes, and other contraband.

During the initial week of operations, the Sheriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force executed 150 inspections targeting unlicensed vendors near schools and houses of worship. The outcome was substantial: 77 cease and desist orders were issued, with 75 shops promptly sealed off. Violations numbering 3,878 were documented across various agencies, culminating in civil penalties amounting to over $5.9 million.

The crackdown has garnered widespread acclaim from diverse stakeholders, including parents, business leaders, elected officials, and community advocates, who have long bemoaned the adverse impact of illegal shops on neighborhoods.

U.S. Representative Dan Goldman lauded the city’s proactive stance, emphasizing the imperative of preserving public safety and the integrity of legal businesses.

Reflecting on the significance of this endeavor, various city officials and community leaders echoed support for Mayor Adams’ efforts to restore order and safety, heralding a new era of compliance within the cannabis industry.

The swift and resolute actions undertaken through “Operation Padlock to Protect” mark a pivotal moment in New York City’s regulatory landscape, heralding a future characterized by a robust and lawful cannabis market that prioritizes community well-being and public health.

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