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New York City could give NYPD instant power to shut down illegal marijuana shops

NYPD could get instant power to close illegal marijuana shops
NYPD could get instant power to close illegal marijuana shops 01:48

NEW YORK -- As New York City leaders work to close hundreds of illegal marijuana shops, legislation on the table would give NYPD instant authority to shut them down. 

"If the cops or somebody else walks in and they find that they're actually selling illegal products, they will for the first time have the ability to close that business down and padlock it," said New York City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers. "They're going to be able to walk into a store now and padlock the store if they're found to be selling illegal product." 

If passed, Powers' legislation would amend the city's nuisance abatement law to make it easier and faster to close the shops. 

"The folks who want to do this legally are sitting there waiting, and they're going to create good jobs, they're going to create economic development for the city, tax revenue for the city. These other businesses have just jumped in and we don't know what they're selling," said Powers. 

City records show there are about 1,500 illegal marijuana shops and 11 legal ones in the five boroughs. 

"The state has been extremely slow to issue the legal licenses. So there's no legal market that's operating here right now. And people are taking advantage of the legalization and great market to push out new product, and unfortunately there hasn't been any enforcement to follow," said Powers. 

Your Point: Does New York have a marijuana problem? 02:41

Powers said a marijuana store on First Avenue in Manhattan has been selling illegal cannabis. A worker behind he counter there told us that's not the case anymore. 

"Unfortunately what we're seeing all over the city is actually these illegal stores, which have become a major burden for neighborhoods. They are unregulated, unruly, they don't contribute much to the city," said Powers, who hopes his bill passes in the coming months. 

Currently, stores selling marijuana illegally could be fined up to $20,000 per day.

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