I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who built a UnlicenseNYC.org. The tagline is “If anyone can open an unlicensed cannabis store and sell untested, untaxed products, there will be no NYS-regulated cannabis business.” It is his response to the explosion of unlicensed smoke shops in NYS.
Many citizens are working on taking down these unlicensed shops, mostly with lawsuits. The political issue is optics, as many people who own these shops are Black and brown, and closing them down doesn’t look good for people in office. Absurd but true.
Unlicensed NYC is genius. All you have to do is take a picture of an unlicensed store, upload it, put in the address and borough, and add it to the database. If you see something, do something!
This information can be used in a variety of ways. Counting how many illegal stores there are, showing credit card companies that they are taking illegal payments, and noting the ATMs inside these stores can now be quantified as laundering money and tracking illegal products. I know countless people who have gotten sick from using products from some of these stores.
I plan to upload every store I pass as I walk the city. This site allows each of us to be a helpful citizen with ease. All of these illegal stores are untested, untaxed, and unsafe. Share this with your friends and family, and start adding to this database!