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Busted! Grace Lee, sheriff raid unlicensed weed shops on Lower East Side

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Assemblymember Grace Lee joined the Sheriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force in inspecting several Lower East Side stores suspected of illegally selling pot.

Not so surprisingly — the suspicions tuned out to be true.

All locations visited during the action — 137 Rivington St., 79 Clinton St., 197 Madison St. and 89 E. Second St. — were found to be selling illegal cannabis and illegal tobacco products, Lee reported.

Confiscated, in total, from the shops were 2,306 pre-rolled marijuana joints, 248 THC vapes, 57 pounds of THC edibles and 14 pounds of weed — plus untaxed cigarettes, tobacco and flavored vape products.

The assemblymember and sheriff also disapprovingly noted some of the illegal pot products were packaged to resemble children’s snacks and candies to attract minors.

Several dozen pounds of marijuana edibles were seized in the raids. (Office of Grace Lee)
THC edibles like these target underage youths, the assemblymember and sheriff charge. (Office of Grace Lee)
Assemblymember Lee outside one of the seemingly hard-to-close unlicensed stores, several of which were at least temporarily closed during the local enforcement action. (Office of Grace Lee)

“The inspections we carried out today successfully removed a large quantity of unregulated cannabis and tobacco products from our community, protecting local residents, including the underage children these products are commonly designed to attract.” Lee said. “By taking action against these stores, we are sending a message that we are prepared to hold illegal cannabis vendors accountable to the law. These inspections are part of our ongoing work to protect New Yorkers and create room for a safe, legal, regulated cannabis industry. I thank the Sheriff’s Office for their work and I look forward to continuing our partnership to crack down on illegal cannabis stores. This upcoming [legislative] session, I aim to work with my colleagues in Albany to address cannabis enforcement issues across the state.”

Anthony Miranda, the New York City sheriff, said, “The Sheriff’s Office and our partner agencies will continue to conduct citywide inspections of unlicensed operations, seizing all illegal and unauthorized products. We want to thank Assemblymember Grace Lee for being proactive in her efforts to combat these illegal shops, as they continue to present a public health and safety problem for our communities.”

The edibles’ packaging makes them look like candy to attract underage users. (Office of Grace Lee)
A hefty, heat-sealed package of pot seized at one of the unlicensed shops. (Office of Grace Lee)

These inspections were prompted by efforts led by Assemblymember Lee to close illegal cannabis businesses, including a list of suspected illegal stores compiled by her office, a letter sent to the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, another sent to local landlords suspected of leasing to illegal cannabis stores and a press conference held this October with state Senator Brian Kavanagh.


  1. Tae Tae December 12, 2023

    That’s not even edibles, that’s flower.

  2. Carol Frances Yost Carol Frances Yost December 10, 2023

    I don’t understand why some cannabis is legal and some isn’t. What’s the issue?

  3. Aron Kay Aron Kay December 8, 2023

    Time for the unlicensed to undercut the state stores!!!
    Time to set up stands outside the stores and sell

  4. Spain Rodriguez Spain Rodriguez December 8, 2023

    From :

    “It is estimated that New York City is home to approximately 8,000 illegal, unlicensed smoke shops.”

    Woooo! 4 illegal shops down. Only 7,996 left to go!

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