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!!!”
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.