NYC Bakery Latest Target of Unlicensed Cannabis Crackdown

May 18, 2023 · Green Market Report

The bakery was ultimately shuttered due to health department violations.

New York City’s haphazard enforcement against unlicensed cannabis shops took another shot on Monday.

Sweetooth, an Upper East Side bakery allegedly selling unlicensed cannabis-infused products, was shut down by city officials in a multiagency raid led by the New York City Sheriff’s Office, according to Patch.com. Hundreds of cannabis edibles were confiscated in the action, and the bakery’s owner was arrested on a drug charge.

The bakery, located just a few blocks from Mayor Eric Adams’ Gracie Mansion residence, had been on the radar of local Councilmember Julie Menin. Last week, Menin declared her commitment to work with the Sheriff’s Office Joint Compliance Task Force to ensure violators face appropriate consequences.

“Businesses should never market cannabis products to children, and I will continue to work with relevant agencies to ensure compliance with all laws,” Menin said in a statement.

Echoing Menin’s sentiment, a spokesperson for Mayor Adams told the outlet, “Mayor Adams has been clear: We will not let the economic opportunities that legal cannabis offers be taken for a ride by unlicensed establishments.”

Legal recreational marijuana shops have been slow to open in New York’s untamed market since last year, with only six licensed dispensaries in New York City. That number pales in comparison to the hundreds of unlicensed shops that have proliferated across the city, raising concerns about challenges for legal dispensaries.

The public appears to support the city’s crackdown on these “gray market” cannabis businesses. A recent poll conducted by Siena College revealed that 58% of New Yorkers surveyed believe that businesses selling cannabis without a license should face fines or closure.

Sweetooth, which opened in February at First Avenue and East 87th Street, offered a range of THC-infused baked goods, including cupcakes, donuts, and cakes. However, the bakery had attracted several complaints from the community, according to Menin’s office.

Prior to Monday’s raid, the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection had cited Sweetooth for eight violations. The Sheriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force found even more violations during the raid, leading to the bakery’s closure.

Officials seized more than 280 THC vapes, approximately 490 pre-rolls, and 825 packages of THC-infused edibles. The owner was arrested on a cannabis possession charge and fined $13,000 for various violations.

Whether this latest action is part of a promised stepped-up enforcement or just another one-off, as the state market has seen to date, remains to be seen. (Full Story)

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