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Washington Square pot peddlers busted for underage sales

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Police arrested three people in Washington Square Park on Thursday for selling marijuana to underage buyers.

Unlicensed pot vendors brazenly sunk roots in the Greenwich Village landmark park in late 2021 after New York State legalized adult-use recreational weed. Since then, some of them have stubbornly clung to their profitable park graymarket — even as police, especially in the last two months, have been cracking down on them hard.

In Thursday’s busts, police employed New York Penal Law 222.50 — for criminal sale of cannabis in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

According to the law, a person is in violation if he or she is age 21 or older and “knowingly and unlawfully sells or gives, or causes to be given or sold, cannabis or concentrated cannabis to a person less than twenty-one years of age” and the seller / giver is more than three years older than the recipient.

According to New York State law, it’s still illegal for anyone under age 21 to possess, sell or use any amount of cannabis.

The first arrest occurred around 3:30 p.m. when, according to the 6th Precinct, a 24-year-old Brooklyn woman sold pot to a 19-year-old person.

A 27-year-old woman, also from Brooklyn, who is the vendor’s wife and was helping her, put the reefer into a bag for the customer — and as a result found herself also being arrested on the same charge.

According to police, the women were set up at a small table in the northeast part of the park’s fountain plaza. There was reportedly clothing for sale on their table, plus a sign advertising tarot card readings for $25. The vendor allegedly also displayed a small white board with writing on it saying, “420 Vortex — Pre-rolls, Flower, 8th’s, Quarters+ … Smoke Shop!!!”

One pot vendor was also reportedly offering tarot readings.

The first woman was additionally charged with unlicensed general vending, and her partner may have been, too.

According to police, the 27-year-old woman was the same vendor arrested in the park in a scuffle three weeks ago after reportedly refusing orders to take down her oversize umbrella and provide ID and then trying to grab back her umbrella from police.

Shortly after the two women were arrested Thursday, police busted a 37-year-old Manhattan man on the same charge for selling pot to a 19-year-old. This ganja peddler was set up just outside the ring of black granite benches that encircle the fountain plaza.

Police seized all the weed on the vendors’ tables, as well as their backpacks.

“There was a fairly large quantity of pre-rolls [marijuana joints] found on the first individual and more eighths of marijuana,” a police source said, referring to loose bud divided into eighths of an ounce.

According to a police source, the Manhattan district attorney is on board with prosecuting these arrests. D.A. Alvin Bragg has been out front in advocating for enforcement against the hundreds of illegal pot stores that have sprouted all over the city, as well as holding their landlords accountable.

In terms of enforcement, the 6th Precinct says it is “focusing on the drug dealers” in the park. Many local residents object to the presence of the pot vendors — as well as other vendors — because they don’t want the small park, which is not quite 10 acres, to be overly commercialized.


  1. True New Yorker True New Yorker September 9, 2023

    I will not engage in the personal insults to me by recent FIT suburban grad Karen and her cisgendered male savior attempted to mansplain.

    However, my point is proven as again it’s an article about drug busts and the wannabe artists who can’t get a gallery to represent them (I will leave opinions of talentless to others), think they have a right to sell (commerce, business) in a public park. Hint: you don’t. Also, instead of aligning with the community that has demanded police, gov’t, PEP enforcement of laws and rules, they made it about themselves (ring the bell when you see the PEP!) and therefore are joining forces with the criminals (hardcore drug dealers and users) and just the general rule-breakers (bikers, skateboarders, smokers, etc) all of which create a situation that is out of control.

    • New Yorker New Yorker September 10, 2023

      3rd party here – it seems to me yet that you’re the one stalking others online and in the park, and making assumptions. From what I can see when I go to that park, only one person rings the bell… Which has nothing to do with this article and / or the alleged Karen and cisgender man that responded to your creepy crafty, Fox News stalker-y aligned response. What does an artist’s legal setup in the park have to do with people skateboarding? You’re just pushing some angry agenda. And art and artists have the right under the law to showcase art in the park, even Central Park. People can buy and make donations if they want. Even if it’s once a month. What does that have to do with gallery representation? Look at Banksy — Artists today can set up anywhere, and be in galleries or pop up spaces or magazines — what does that have to do with you? If you’re fulfilled in life, why take so much time to comment on this? Meanwhile you post under an “anonymous” name and don’t list any website or information. From a third party reading this, seems like you need to enjoy some pot yourself.

  2. maria passannante-derr maria passannante-derr September 8, 2023

    It would be tragic if teenagers unknowingly bought pre-rolled weed that contained fentanyl or another deadly drug. Kudos to the 6th Precinct. Now let’s see if Bragg’s office follows through.

  3. Aron Kay, The Yippie Pie Man Aron Kay, The Yippie Pie Man September 8, 2023

    in the past, I have been privy to the NYPD harassing and arresting activists who were tabling in the park, which is a violation of the First Amendment…
    Furthermore, I do support the unlicensed right to sell pot!!! What is the NYPD going to do about it? Kick doors open looking for stash or money?
    I feel it is time for the park people to go fuck with the legal stores by selling cut-rate product in their face….Should any proprietor serve as a witness against the unlicensed vendor, it will be time to call for a boycott on snitching pot stores… . To all property owners around Washington Square Park, stop playing Jim Crow.

  4. Sharon Volpe Sharon Volpe September 8, 2023

    I still feel the original artists showcasing their own work still should be allowed. As long as we follow the rules. We are not ruining WSP. We bring artistic expressions and love to the park. My art will be displayed on the Link NYC sidewalk Wi-Fi kiosks and yet to showcase that in the park is wrong? Why?

    • True New Yorker True New Yorker September 8, 2023

      Sharon – do you know the definition of narcissism? Making everything about yourself. This is a story about drug dealers selling to our kids and finally (finally!) getting arrested. But sure, let’s talk about the so-called “artists.” The ones who shielded the drug dealers, who take over precious space to sell (running a business); block walkway spaces, hustle us for “free hugs,” who use amplifiers (despite not being allowed), who fight the police, PEP officers and neighbors who ask you to follow the rules. When all the rules are respected and enforced, we can talk about you folks. Until then, let me play a the tiniest violin for you….

      • Sharon VOLPE Sharon VOLPE September 8, 2023

        Do you know the definition of not having anything to do except complain and be rude to people you dob’t even know — is there such thing as civility? The artists are victims, as well. Which is what I was trying to say as we too have been victims of harassment since people have tried to take advantage in the park. We have the right to set up our artwork under the First Amendment. If you had any talent other than being a keyboard warrior then maybe you would have something positive to say. Or even show music or dance to the world but you don’t. I didn’t make it about me. What I am saying is that the artists are also victims of this. I mind my business and I’m not policing the park, when they have paid PEP officers and nypd (being paid) to stop by and check tables and everything on that table every day to make sure they follow laws. I can’t control what others do. I don’t shield anyone ever. I am not putting myself in danger so I can make some point. And you’re not a true New Yorker if you take issue with original art in the park or anywhere for that matter. The fact that you’re so aggressive online really shows what a ridiculous nontalent you are with your biggest skill being nasty on a local paper. I just pity you and your pathetic life. Only responding to others on a local paper web site.

      • Etch guy. Etch guy. September 8, 2023

        First, that is not the “definition of narcissism” What you’re describing is the colloquialism “self-centered”

        Second, how is Sharon relating this single article to her situation at the park relating EVERYTHING to herself?

        And why are you calling her a so-called “artist” with artist in quotes? She is an art teacher with an advanced education in the arts who shows her work throughout many venues in the city and on a national scale. I don’t how that denotes the trite insulting label of “so-called” as though she has some outstanding ulterior motives that bar her from being a real artist. If she isn’t an artist then nobody is.

        Additionally, she isn’t “shielding” drug dealers. Art vendors like Sharon and I have literally nothing to do with drug dealers or drug dealing. We go to the park and display our art. That is it. We are part of a rich history of art and performance at WSP and we are loved and appreciated by both the local community and tourists alike.That is not self-centered because we have the receipts of many individuals speaking to us and advocating for us through their letters to the conservancy and community board to back these sentiments up.

        Sharon and other vendors such as myself are commenting on these articles because we are unfairly associated with a situation that does not reflect us or our Art practice.

        Your comment strikes me as more narcissistic than Sharon’s, considering you seem to want the park to solely revolve around your image of what it should be and you lack the empathy to acknowledge that your vision of the park isn’t the only one.

    • Reeves Reeves September 13, 2023

      Sharon, you don’t care at all about our community. You see this every day and you don’t do anything. What is your contribution to solving the drug problem in our community? Besides watching everyone selling and injecting themselves. You are a guest in OUR neighborhood, help solve the problem or go find another park.

      • SharonVolpe SharonVolpe September 14, 2023

        Excuse me but watch your tone. First of all, I am a New Yorker. I live near WSP I teach art for the NYC DOE and I also work as an artist and freelancer. I regularly set up my table in WSP in the summer and when I can on weekends. I follow to a T the expressive matter rules. I don’t list prices. I have nothing on the ground. I’m nice / direct people to the restrooms / and any other questions they have. If people would like to donate to my art, great. If not, I have a nice pink table and they are welcome to just look and discuss art or NYC or other positive things. I don’t know everyone in the park who is selling drugs. But I also know I am not putting myself in danger to make a point. The NYPD 6th Precinct knows exactly who they are, and it’s obvious. I do my best to help answer questions they (NYPD) have, but I’m not doing police work. I help if kids are in the park, and I do everything to support kids in the park — like give them art crayons, paper or chalk and teach them. I am not ruining nyc or the neighborhood. If you have issues with the drug dealers and or people that commit crimes in WSP, the police are their every day, so please talk to them.
        Feel free to contact me if you have more questions but as a NYC resident and teacher I find it disgusting you’re blaming me for these problems in WSP.

        • Jermaine Jermaine October 22, 2023

          I don’t by shit from them

      • Artist in WSP / New Yorker Artist in WSP / New Yorker September 14, 2023

        I truly don’t get the logic of your response . We (artists in WSP) are literally one less drug dealer every time we set up. New York, next to Paris is literally the international capital of art. And we are local nyc artists, selling art. That in and of itself is an action that stops drug abuse in favor of a creative productive endeavor. Do you want us to be vigilantes and take down the dealers?
        The cops honestly hurt the artists by pitting us against the drug dealers when they don’t do their jobs.
        Take it up with Lt. Brown of the 6th — he makes twice as much as the average city employee.

  5. Long Time Villager Long Time Villager September 8, 2023

    Bravo indeed…now, how about the crack dealers and users in the NW corner. They are still there in broad daylight.

  6. True New Yorker True New Yorker September 8, 2023

    Thank you, NYPD! Please keep up the good work. Do not listen to the naysayers. We the community want a clean safe community free of drug dealers and addicts. This whole pot legalization was so poorly rolled out (pun). It should be like alcohol, you can’t drink on the street or sell without a license. And it is not the same say Upstate or suburb vs. the tight small spaces of Manhattan — the stench can be smelled on the whole block from one joint. Keep it indoors and NOT on our streets, at least in Manhattan. Politicians, you work for us. Amend the law. the Government should not be in the business of being drug dealers or enablers. And make no mistake, marijuana is not harmless itself and sometimes is a gateway to harder drugs.
    Message to these two Brooklyn women: Who exactly do you think you are? Coming into our community to push and sell drugs to make a profit? And when the police asked you to stop 3 weeks ago you do not comply and fight them? Then you return? Hell to the No! Go back to Brooklyn. Get a real job. A real life. These are your adult decisions in life. You are not a victim of society. You are the problem. Get lost.

  7. Starship Trooper Starship Trooper September 8, 2023


    • Joe Joe September 11, 2023

      Alvin Briggs will let them back out. Remember his ABC-Ny interview walked right past one while filming and he did nothing

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