Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state’s latest illegal cannabis crackdown is off to a flying start.

A state police task force padlocked 114 unlicensed shops and seized nearly $30 million worth of product in just three weeks, officials said.

“We’re not playing whack-a-mole anymore,” Hochul said. “We want to shut them down for good.”

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams said state legislation has made it easier to padlock illegal cannabis shops

  • According to officials, a state police task force padlocked 114 shops in just three weeks, while the city shut down 400 shops

  • Legal dispensaries in enforcement areas reported a 27 percent bump in sales, Hochul said

Meanwhile, legal dispensaries in enforcement areas have reported a 27% bump in sales, according to the governor.

Hochul also said her goal is to shut down a majority of the state’s illegal sellers in 90 days.

But similar proclamations have been made before. An attempted crackdown last summer fell flat, with stores reopening almost immediately after being raided.

The difference now, officials say, are statutory changes passed in April as part of the state budget that give localities more authority to shutter storefronts.

“We go in, we do the inspection, and for those that hit the mark, we are putting a padlock on,” Dan Haughney, director of enforcement for the state Office of Cannabis Management, said. “In some cases, we are literally drilling our locks onto the doors, changing the cylinders and effectively taking control of that location so that they can’t just re-stock and continue to operate.”

A city task force led by the sheriff’s office, long ineffectual, has now shut down 400 shops in just the past few weeks, according to Mayor Adams, who also appeared at Tuesday’s announcement.

“We were turning these illegal cannabis shops into magnets of criminality,” he said.

Both the mayor and governor held up packages of cannabis products they said were designed to appeal to children.

“Children should not be going into a store buying Hostess Cupcakes Puffmallow or Sugar Cookie Pebble Sweeties,” she said. “I’m sick and tired of the abuses that have gone on up until this point. Leave our kids alone.”

Hochul also on Tuesday introduced Felicia A.B. Reid as the interim head of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.

A recent state review knocked OCM’s leadership, prompting executive director Chris Alexander to resign.

Reid is now tasked with getting more legal dispensaries through the pipeline to help turn the industry around.

“My frustration has been clear. We are having a whole new day,” Hochul told reporters. “New leadership, new enforcement powers, and the energy and excitement out in that room tell that people see that everything has changed here in the state of New York.”