New legislation passed by the New York City Council imposes fines of up to $10,000 on landlords who willingly rent spaces to unauthorized marijuana retailers. The bill marks a shift in focus from penalizing only the proprietors of such shops to holding property owners accountable as well.
Lynn Schulman (D-Queens), the bill’s sponsor, labeled the development as a game-changer, highlighting that enforcement had previously targeted only marijuana sellers, not those providing them with premises. The City Council approved the bill unanimously on Thursday, June 22nd.
The newly passed legislation mandates the city Sheriff’s office, New York Police Department, and other law enforcement authorities to issue written warnings to landlords when their tenants are fined or penalized for operating illegal marijuana businesses.
If the tenant continues to violate regulations and the landlord fails to initiate eviction proceedings, the property owner will face penalties: a $5,000 fine for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent violations.
This legislation responds to the growing number of illegal marijuana dispensaries in the city, which currently number over 1,500 compared to only six legal outlets.
Both Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul have been attempting to curb this issue since recreational marijuana was legalized in the state in 2021.
However, their efforts have been primarily directed at marijuana sellers, leaving a gap that the new legislation aims to fill by targeting landlords.