Saturday, June 15, 2024

NYC weed shop crackdown is great news, but without wider reform will just be Whack-a-Mole

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An illegal NYC weed shop saw the hammer come down last week as part of a wider city crackdown on such stores: Good — but not good enough. 

Western Green, a Queens store operating in flagrant violation of the laws that prog legislators assured us would make the retail pot market safe, got raided and shuttered, its copious inventory confiscated. 

One down — 2,900-plus to go

NYPD officers raiding the Western Green unlicensed cannabis shop in Kew Gardens, Queens, on May 9, 2024. Carl Campanile/NY Post

The city’s in this mess thanks to the total botch Albany made of New York’s legal pot rollout.

The Legislature wrapped that effort in suffocating “equity” red tape, meaning that those wanting to set up illegal shops were guaranteed a massive head start

Then lawsuits driven by the equity nonsense — many triggered by the incompetent Office of Cannabis Management’s bizarre push to hand licenses to former crooks first — slowed things even more. 

Plus, the state’s legal-pot law made it basically impossible for local cops to fight back against illegal sellers in the city. 

Add in the best efforts of pro-crime progressives to wreck public safety generally, and here we are: an open black market in weed, with neon signs blazing loud and proud where it used to just be corner boys. 

Cannabis products seized by police during the raid in Queens.
Cannabis products seized by police during the raid in Queens. Carl Campanile/NY Post

Don’t forget that a big chunk of these stores’ weed products come in packaging that mimics popular snacks — i.e., they’re aimed at literal children

Gov. Kathy Hochul showed real spine on the issue and fought for a new law, now enacted, to make crackdowns against illegal shops a bit easier; she’s also cleaning house at OCM in the wake of a damning investigation.  

And every small step for public order is a good one, so bravo to that and the shutdown of Western Green and every other illegal shop caught in the dragnet. 

But playing Whack-a-Mole against these community-wrecking scofflaws is not a viable strategy.

Trouble is, thanks to the crime lovers among New York’s Democrats, that’s still pretty much the only tool available to law enforcement. 

Until that changes, we fear the number of illegal pot shops will stay sky-high. 

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