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New Yorkers To Rally For SMOKEOUT Act & Against Illicit Weed Shops, Here's Why, Where And When

Published 13/04/2024, 00:58
© Reuters.  New Yorkers To Rally For SMOKEOUT Act & Against Illicit Weed Shops, Here's Why, Where And When

Benzinga - by Maureen Meehan, Benzinga Editor.

Governor Kathy Hochul (D) and Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar (D) proposed a tough new policy change, known as the SMOKEOUT Act that would allow local law enforcement to directly padlock and shut down the thousands of unlicensed smoke shops selling marijuana throughout New York City and state.

Authored by Rajkumar, the bill "Stop Marijuana Over-proliferation and Keep Empty Operators of Unlicensed Transactions" – or SMOKEOUT – would empower individual municipal governments to shut down unlicensed cannabis businesses and seize their products.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams, who has made cracking down on the illicit pot shops a priority, also supports SMOKEOUT. Despite stepped-up enforcement efforts, there are as many as 2,000 smoke shops illegally selling weed in the Big Apple alone. Throughout the entire state of New York, only 85 retail licenses have been issued.

Broad Backing For SMOKEOUT But House Speaker Says No: Supporters Will Take To The Streets

Although backed by Democratic leadership in the state Senate, House Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) is not on board with SMOKEOUT. He says he does not want to include the plan as part of this year's budget negotiations, which are happening at the moment. A spokesperson for the speaker said Heastie opposes putting policy items in the yearly spending bill.

This makes no sense to Jeffrey Hoffman, a prominent New York cannabis lawyer and legalization advocate, who says Heastie's logic of not including policy changes in the state budget process is in fact a policy choice. "It is a choice to stand with the illegal shops who are advertising to and poisoning our children, and stealing our local community tax dollars while undercutting the licensed retailers in the process," Hoffman said.

"We have repeatedly requested a meeting with Speaker Heastie, but his office keeps pushing us back with generic non-responses indicating that they’ll get to it eventually…after we give up, or after the budgetary legislative session is concluded, presumably. We’re done asking nicely."

Show Up And Be Heard

Hoffman is calling on people who oppose Heastie's logic to show up and be seen. "We won’t wait until after the budget is passed and the legislature stops paying attention and loses its sense of urgency."

Rally & Press Conference In Support Of SMOKEOUT Act

A protest rally is being held on Saturday, April 13 at 4:30 pm at 1446 E Gun Hill Rd, Bronx NY.

Photo: NYC Cannabis Parade by Maureen Meehan

© 2024 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Read the original article on Benzinga

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