Press Release

REBNY, Manhattan DA Bragg & NYS Office of Cannabis Management Partner in Effort to Curb Unlicensed Cannabis Shops


November 7, 2023

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Co-Hosted Webinar Attended by Hundreds of Commercial Property Owners and Brokers

New York, NY – The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) are working together to combat the problem of unlicensed cannabis shops in New York City storefronts.

As part of this effort, REBNY, the DA’s Office and OCM recently held a webinar that was attended by hundreds of commercial property owners and brokers across New York City. The webinar highlighted relevant information including:

  • Best practices for identifying unlicensed cannabis sellers.

  • Steps property owners can take to evict unlicensed shops and avoid potential fines.

  • Details on how the DA and OCM handle investigations and enforcement.

  • The importance of communicating with enforcement agencies when dealing with an unlicensed cannabis shop in your building.

“Permitting unlicensed cannabis shops sends a terrible message that laws and rules don’t matter and adds to a storyline that the City’s quality of life is worsening,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “We would like to thank DA Bragg, OCM and the countless property owners who want to do the right thing and abide by the law." 

“A legal, regulated cannabis market is critical for public safety and economic growth, and the Manhattan D.A.’s Office is using every tool at our disposal to proactively address unlicensed cannabis shops in the borough,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “We are grateful to REBNY for their partnership and we will continue to work with the private sector and our law enforcement partners to ensure landlords have the tools they need to help root out illegal shops.”

“Collaboration and coordination are necessary to build a successful and equitable adult-use cannabis market,” said Chris Alexander, Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management. “We must continue to work closely with local government officials and enlist stakeholders like REBNY to comprehensively address this public health crisis.”

Public officials have estimated that New York City is home to thousands of unlicensed smoke shops. This partnership between REBNY, the DA’s Office and OCM follows recent City and State laws focused on addressing the spread of unlicensed sellers.

New York City Local Law 107, which took effect in July, prohibits owners of commercial storefronts from knowingly leasing space to unlicensed sellers of cannabis or tobacco products. At the State level, revisions to the Cannabis Law in the FY 23-24 Budget bolstered OCM’s enforcement authority to seek removal of commercial tenants based on unlicensed cannabis sales, among other updates.

Following the recent webinar, REBNY will continue to provide relevant information on this to its members and maintain open dialogue with the DA’s Office, OCM and other officials.


Topics Covered

  • Retail
  • Quality of Life