Illegal Smoke, Cannabis Shops Ordered Closed, $6 Million In Fines, 3,800 Counts Of Violations “Operation Padlock To Protect”: Mayor Adams



Multi-Agency Operation Kicked Off Last Week Across All Five Boroughs to Hold Illegal Smoke and Cannabis Shops Accountable

150 Establishments Inspected, Resulting in 75 Illegal Locations Sealed,  3,878 Counts of Violations, and Over $5.9 Million in Penalties

New Yorkers Praise Mayor Adams’ Commitment to Closing Illegal Smoke and Cannabis Shops 

Editor’s note: Readers may remember our coverage of the Borough President’s statement about illegal shops, along with the recent closure of a shop in West Brighton. 

We’ve also covered CATO Institute’s piece on the similarity of cannabis to tobacco and alcohol, making the case for similar regulation.  And the DEA just rescheduled cannabis to a Schedule III drug. 

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the results of week one of “Operation Padlock to Protect” — a sustained multi-agency enforcement action to shut down illegal smoke and cannabis shops across the five boroughs. In the first week of enforcement, the New York City Sherriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force — made up of members from the Sheriff’s Office, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) — sealed 75 locations and issued nearly $6 million in penalties. The Sherriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force conducted operations on May 4, 7, 9, and 11.


“Week one of ‘Operation Padlock to Protect,’ reaffirms what we’ve long said: With the backing of legal authority behind us, our administration will act swiftly to combat illegal cannabis and smoke shop operators,” said Mayor Adams. “For too long, illegal operators have posed a threat to our children, our public safety, and our quality of life, and they have undermined those justice-involved, legal businesses that are trying to succeed. With this coordinated and sustained multi-agency enforcement, we will help usher in a thriving, safe, and just legal cannabis market that our city deserves while protecting our city’s children, families, and vibrant business districts from being subjected to these brazen storefronts.”


Following Mayor Adams’ successful advocacy in Albany for municipalities to be given the regulatory authority by the state to finally shut down illegal shops plaguing city streets, New York City moved quickly to execute its legal authority, and will accelerate that execution in the coming weeks.

The Sherriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force systematically conducts joint operations in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, which includes inspections and follow-up inspections. When operators are ordered to be sealed, local NYPD precincts monitor those locations to ensure compliance and alert the Sheriff’s Office when violations of the seal order occur. The NYPD can also make arrests for violating the sheriff’s closure orders. ‘Operation Padlock to Protect’ is an example of the Adams administration’s efforts to double down on its commitment to swiftly shut down illegal operators, protect the city’s children, improve quality of life, and facilitate a safe and thriving legal cannabis market.


In its first week of operations, the Sherriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force conducted 150 inspections of unlicensed locations in the vicinity of schools or houses of worship allegedly selling cannabis, THC edibles, THC vape, untaxed cigarettes, flavored tobacco, flavored vapes, or other tobacco products in the confines of the NYPD’s eight borough commands. Inspections resulted in:


  • 77 cease and desist orders and 75 shops sealed.
  • 370 notices of violations holding 3,878 counts of violations across NYPD, DCWP, and the Sheriff’s Office.
  • More than $5,960,000 in civil penalties issued.


Parents, businesses, elected officials, community groups, criminal justice advocates, and more have been alarmed by the scourge of illegal operators in every neighborhood across New York City and applaud the Adams administration’s decisive action.

Banner Image: Justice-Involved. Image Credit – Humberto Portillo


NYC Mayor's Office

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