Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

State cracks down on illegal pot sales in Peekskill

Three stores ‘visited’ yesterday
State Troopers and officials from Office of Cannabis Management outside South Street Deli yesterday morning.

State police swept through downtown Peekskill for a second time in four months, charging two more stores with selling pot illegally.

On Wednesday, June 26, New York State troopers went to three shops and tagged two of them – Peekskill Smoke Shop at 988 Main St. and the South St. Deli at 900 South St. – ordering them to stop selling cannabis without a state license. The third target of the raids, Papi’s Secret Stash, was entered by state authorities but not issued a notice.

South Street Deli and Main Street Smoke Shop were tagged yesterday by the Office of Cannabis Management.

The first state raids in Peekskill happened on March 28, when enforcement agents from the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) posted notices on several different locations in Peekskill that illicit cannabis had been seized from the stores.

“… this location must immediately cease the sale of unapproved and unauthorized cannabis products” the notices from the state say. “The unlicensed sale of cannabis and cannabis products is strictly prohibited.” A second violation comes with a fine of up to $20,000.

Smoke Shop on Main Street was issued a violation yesterday.

The Herald verified two locations with seizure notices in the March raid: the smoke shop at 1014 Park St. and the Highland Gourmet Deli at 501 Highland Ave. The notices claim authorities witnessed the sale of illegal products in the stores.

The OCM terms the actions “… regulatory inspections for the illicit sale of cannabis.”

Making the transition to legal marijuana sales

Much like the end of Prohibition in the 1930s, the change over to legalizing marijuana could require several years of law enforcement action to put illegal shops out of business.

New York Times from 91 years ago when prohibition was repealed.

Two stores have been approved to open in Peekskill. Cloud 914 on Washington Street and Valley Greens on Central Avenue are planning to open later this summer.

After a slow start, New York state is ramping up a crackdown on the thousands of “smoke shops” throughout the state. At least four shops have been noted for violations following raids in Peekskill so far this year under the direction of the state Office of Cannabis Management, the agency that oversees the industry including granting licenses.

Authorities in Rockland County arrested four people and seized $400,000 and 170 pounds of cannabis earlier in June following an investigation that began in 2023.

Raids on unlicensed smoke shops operating as “Zava” in Clarkstown, Orangetown, and Suffern were announced on June 20 by the Rockland District Attorney’s Office. The year-long investigation was conducted jointly with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, several New York state agencies, and local police.

“Today’s charges highlight the increased prevalence of illegal, unregulated smoke shops being opened throughout our state,” said Ivan J. Arvelo, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York.

“Make no mistake: while the use of marijuana has been legalized in New York, businesses must adhere to tax restrictions and requirements – a fact these four defendants allegedly blatantly ignored,” Arvelo said.

In May, an upstate New York store operator was hit with $15 million in fines and had his five shops shut down. “This significant fine sends a clear message to illicit operators that the state will vigorously enforce cannabis regulations to ensure the safety and integrity of the industry,” said Daniel Haughney, director of enforcement for the state Office of Cannabis Management. “This is a pivotal moment for New York state, demonstrating our unwavering dedication to upholding the law and rooting out illegal operators from our communities, your time in town is up.”

Papi’s Secret Stash raided by state, remains open

During the June 26 inspections in Peekskill this week, state police entered Papi’s Secret Stash on Main Street looking for illegal marijuana. Unlike the other two stores raided that day, Papi’s was not issued a violation notice by police.

Papi’s Secret Stash was entered by OCM officials and State Troopers but not issued a violation.

Eric Sanchez, owner of Papi’s told the Herald his store did not receive a red sticker indicating illegal pot sales.

“They came in my store they found a tiny bag of my own weed from my farm that I grew,” Sanchez said. “They didn’t violate us, they took it and gave me some paperwork showing what they took and a letter from the attorney general’s office saying there may be further filings.” Sanchez said police also took a shotgun which is legally registered to him and will be returned.

Sanchez, who filed a lawsuit in state court this month against the OCM, believes he is now being targeted by state authorities.

“They’re messing with me,” Sanchez told the Herald. “It came from the attorney general’s office, who conveniently enough is the one who is handling the case I have against the state.”

In the lawsuit, Sanchez’s attorney alleges that the OCM withdrew a state cannabis license ten days after issuing it to Papi’s in February. The lawsuit wants the license issued so Sanchez can legally sell and grow marijuana as a crop.

Asked about the raid on Wednesday, Sanchez said “I want blood, that’s what I want to say about it. “Now I’m mad because before I would have been willing to settle and let this all go away but now I’m going for their throat.”

A press spokesperson for the state OCM did not return a request for comment.





About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.