NYC Landlords Face $10 Grand In Fines If They Rent To Illicit Weed Shops, Law Goes Into Effect

Landlords in the Big Apple who rent store space to illegal weed or tobacco sellers now face $10,000 fines under a new law that seeks to crack down on the estimated 2000 unlicensed smoke shops that keep popping up all over the city.

Owners of commercial spaces will be fined under a two-strike system if they are busted for knowingly renting space to unlicensed sellers or do not make a good faith effort to evict them, the City Council announced Monday.

Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, who sponsored the legislation, called the new law a “game-changer."

“Until now, measures at the state and local levels have targeted the actual businesses. My legislation targets the commercial landlords who knowingly rent to these illegal operations," Schulman said adding that illicit shops "rob the city of much-needed tax revenue to pay for essential programs and services.” 

The NYPD will partner with the Department of Finance and the New York City Sheriff’s Department to find illegal sellers and communicate with landlords.

Steve Soutendijk, who represents retailers in the Real Estate Board of New York, joined lawmakers in calling illegal cannabis shops a nuisance, reported the Gothamist.

“The REBNY model retail lease explicitly states that space cannot be utilized illegally, and we strongly condemn any property owner who knowingly leases any property for an illegal or illicit use,” Soutendijk said.

“We have an obligation to protect a healthy, legal cannabis market and to ensure that the industry meets its equity goals,” councilmember Carlina Rivera, who represents Lower Manhattan, said outside of Union Square Travel Agency Cannabis, one of the first legal shops in NYC.

According to lawmakers, the process could take several months to set up. Landlords renting to unlicensed cannabis shops will first get a letter from the city followed by an inspection and a second warning.

“Then after that, then they get fined,” Schulman said.

Photo courtesy of OCM

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsPoliticsMarketsGeneralcannabis new yorkLynn SchulmanNYC Sheriff's officeNYPD
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