Oyster Bay Town officials are trying to shut down a vape shop in Syosset for alleged illegal marijuana sales on the premises.
The town alleged in a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Nassau County in June that employees of Exotic Vape Shop Corporation have been illegally selling cannabis products from the vape store at 27 Jackson Ave.
“They seem to be operating a business selling marijuana out of the store without a license,” Andrew Preston, an attorney from Mineola-based Bee, Ready, Fishbein, Hatter & Donovan, LLP, which represents the town, said in an interview Monday.
Nassau County police have repeatedly made arrests at the business — whose storefront sign says "Eastwind" — for alleged illegal sales of unlicensed cannabis products since last year, according to records the town included in its court filings.
“The town is going to continue to protect the neighborhood from illicit unregulated activities that violate our laws and put the public health at risk,” Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said Monday.
Records show State Supreme Court Justice Francis Ricigliano signed an order Friday telling the shop owner and the property's landlord to appear in court Aug. 3 to answer to why they shouldn't be held in contempt for violating a June temporary restraining order by failing to cease operations.
The owner of the shop didn't respond to repeated requests for comment, nor did the landlord, Great Neck-based Syosset Station LLC. Online court records don't yet show any response to the litigation from those parties.
The town alleges the business can be shut down as a nuisance. Under Oyster Bay code, a property on which two convictions of certain crimes occur within a year can be deemed a nuisance, according to the lawsuit. One of those crimes falls under a state law dealing with controlled substances.
Last year, Nassau County police charged two people working at the shop with felonies under that law, according to charging papers included in the town's lawsuit. Those records said the men were arrested for allegedly selling edible products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive ingredient in pot — and for possessing more than 10 pounds of cannabis.
The town's court papers also said police arrested both men again this year for allegedly selling edible products containing THC.
One of the individuals, Shaafal Ahmed, pleaded guilty to lesser offenses of disorderly conduct, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.
The other person, Saleh Salem, “was not convicted of a crime,” according to his Garden City attorney, Steven Gaitman. He declined further comment Monday.
Oyster Bay opted out of legalized sales of marijuana and the town's zoning code prohibits its sale.
The town also has alleged in its lawsuit that the business violated town codes mandating a new certificate of occupancy and for having a neon sign without a permit.