BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Now that state-sponsored pot dispensaries are being rolled out, featuring taxed weed, the city says it’s turning up the heat on illicit smoke shops. But how much? And will it really put a dent in the booming gray market?
And what about all the smoke shops still illegally selling flavored vape products to youth?
The City Council will host a public hearing on “the proliferation of unlicensed smoke shops in New York City” on Wed., Jan. 18, starting at 10 a.m. Those who wish to testify will have two minutes to speak.
The public can attend the hearing in person in the City Hall Chambers or watch virtually via the City Council Web site.
Merchants must have a tobacco retail dealer license to sell cigarettes or tobacco products directly to consumers. According to Allie Ryan, who is running for election in City Council District 2, there are currently 50 illegal smoke shops in the East Village alone.
Enforcement against the illegal businesses is being done by the New York City Sheriff’s Office and the Police Department.
Passed in 2019, the Council’s Local Law 228 prohibits the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and flavored e-liquids. Among groups encouraging participation in Wednesday’s hearing is Parents Against Vaping E-Cigs, or PAVE.
Wednesday’s oversight hearing will be held jointly by the Committee on Health, the Committee on Oversight and Investigations and the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection.