Landlords can now be fined for illegal smoke shops

The City Council has passed a new law that prohibits owners of commercial spaces from knowingly leasing to unlicensed sellers of marijuana or tobacco products, imposing fines of up to $10,000 on landlords. Local Law 107 of 2023 went into effect on July 23. Let’s just hope it has teeth. Here’s how it will work:

Agencies (see below) that conduct inspections for unlicensed marijuana or tobacco sales and find such activity may provide written notice to the property owner requiring they ensure such unlicensed activity is ceased, serving as the basis of violation. Any subsequent inspection that finds continued violation would make the landlord subject to a $5,000 civil penalty at first, and a $10,000 penalty for each subsequent violation. The commencement of an eviction proceeding shall be considered an affirmative defense for a landlord. The law also requires the submission of quarterly reports to the mayor and the City Council on enforcement.

Agencies that already have inspection power for controlled substances include: the state Office of Cannabis Management, the City Sheriff’s Office, the NYPD, and the Department of Consumer & Worker Protection. It would be designated inspectors from those offices and agencies that would actually conduct the inspection. The law also states that the mayor can designate additional inspection and enforcement agencies at his discretion. (This all from the office of Queens Councilmember Lynn Schulman, which was very helpful.)

Residents can call 311 to report an unlicensed cannabis shop or report it through this state portal:

The City Council estimates that there are 8,000 illegal, unlicensed smoke shops citywide, undermining the plan for licensed recreational marijuana market and the tax revenues that go with it. The products sold in unlawful stores are also unregulated, and could pose health risks to consumers.

I walk by the new one on West Broadway and Chambers regularly, and so far it mostly looks empty. That may be the most effective way to close these places.



  1. I’m all for controlled legalization & the tax rev that goes with it (see: Colorado, and their balanced books) but with *8K* instances of illegal sale of controlled substance across the city, it sure does seem odd how the NYPD seems completely uninterested in the minmal effort it would take to even lazily enforce the law in these instances.

  2. This situation provides the city an opportunity to demonstrate a bare minimum of competence. Somehow I am afraid to get my hopes up. The lack of law enforcement over myriad quality of life and safety issues—cars with illegally tinted windows, e-bikes on sidewalks and bike paths, speeding, and turnstile hopping—dampen my expectations.

    These are also all reasons I now consider what was once unthinkable: leaving.

    So that we know who NOT to report, which shops have licenses? Is there a list?

  3. Talking about illegal sales, just come to Canal, Broadway, Church. Practically occupied by all sales illegal. For years.