Sheriff Miranda Says 75 Illegal Weed Stores Were Padlocked in First 4 Days of Crackdown

The city’s chief sheriff Anthony Miranda had said earlier he hopes to conduct up to 75 to 100 raids a day once the task force that includes the sheriff, the NYPD and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, is fully up and running. In the first four days, there were 150 investigations, and 75 stores padlocked.

| 19 May 2024 | 06:16

In the first four days of a citywide crackdown, 75 retail outlets selling illegal cannabis products were padlocked.

“We visited 150 locations,” said New York City Sheriff Anthony Miranda told reporters during Mayor Eric Adams press briefing on May 14. “Fifty percent of those locations were sealed and issued cease and desist orders.”

Miranda earlier told Straus News that when the multi-agency task force is fully up and running, he hoped to raid 75 to 100 stores a day. One the first day of the crackdown, he had hit 20 shops across the five boroughs.

The number of illegal smoke shops has surged to close to 2,900 stores, according to the latest estimates, a dramatic rise from the 1,500 to 2,000 suspected illegal shops the city officials were estimating until the recent revision.

“These smoke shops have really become a quality of life issue in our city, and every town hall we attend, this issue comes up over and over again,” Mayor Eric Adams has said.

A whole series of new enforcement rights that were recently enacted have helped enormously. Previously the sheriff’s office was the only one conducting raids while the NYPD largely stayed away.

“It is the partnership of all the agencies working together. That’s the Sheriff’s Office, the NYPD and the Department of Consumer Worker Protection. Those teams have been very effective in their responses to each of these locations and we’re operating in all five boroughs at this time,” Miranda said.

The city’s official estimate on the number of illegal weed stores in the city has been upped to just under 2,900, although some sources think the real number is much higher because that number only tallies stores that have had complaints lodged against them.

“We get that information from community complaints. We also get that information from the Police Department, elected officials and anyone else who makes the observation. School principals, PTA parents who see their kids go into the locations. They’re reported for investigation. We have that many locations that require an investigation.”

He also acknowledged that not every complaint turns out to be a valid one warranting a shut down. “Just because somebody says it so doesn’t mean it’s so,” Miranda said. “We do the appropriate investigations and inspections to verify.”

The veteran lawman later told Straus News in a separate interview that he planned to target shops that were posing a danger to the public, particularly those that were near churches and schools.

To try to thwart them, Miranda added, the task force is conducting raids against multiple shops at once. These raids, he asserted, will “send a message out and a number of shops near us will begin to process the closing down. That’s why we have more than one team in operation, so that they can hit several locations simultaneously.”