Senator Addabbo shuts down illegal Smoke Shop, faces ongoing battle to close more

addabbo smoke shop magic pack
Photo courtesy Paul Frangipane, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

A neighborhood dispute between a Queens state Senator and a smoke shop caught illegally selling cannabis last year boiled over this month, with law enforcement placing a restraining order on the business’ storefront.

Magic Pack, a smoke shop located at 84-17 Jamaica Ave., has been shut down by authorities and is unlikely to reopen after State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (D-Woodhaven) called for its closure and began working with law enforcement last year to make it happen.

Addabbo collaborated with the NYPD and NYC Sheriff’s office to close Magic Pack down, which is located directly across the street from his district office. Their work has been ongoing, with Magic Pack subject to a major bust in October.

The October raid, conducted by the NYC Sheriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force saw the operator of the store slapped with a $56,000 fine and led to his arrest, although it didn’t stop the businesses from operating once again.

Addabbo says he’s been frustrated by the number of smoke shops, such as Magic Pack, that have opened in his district in recent times. He said that he is working with his fellow lawmakers in Albany to combat the increase in unregulated cannabis sales, but smoke shop owners continue to laugh at fines, violations, and punishments presented by police.

“The violations somehow mean very little to them,” Addabbo said in a conversation with QNS.

Magic Park had been in Addabbo’s crosshairs for some time.

Addabbo’s office had been in close communication with the NYPD 102nd Precinct about the smoke shop over the past year and had been reporting their findings. In their findings, Addabbo said there were several occasions where minors could be seen entering the business and leaving with a cannabis product. Photos shared to the NYC Sheriff’s office and QNS show teens entering and exiting the store, according to Addabbo.

Screenshots of video where teens allegedly enter the Magic Pack smoke shop.Photo courtesy Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
Teens allegedly entered Magic Pack smoke shop.Photo courtesy Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

The shop’s operator faced charges stemming from the October raid of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the 5th degree and Criminal Possession of Cannabis in the 2nd degree, according to the Sheriff’s Office. As well as the $56,000 in penalties, the store was hit with over 70 violations.

Inspectors from the Sheriff’s office also confiscated flavored vape products, THC edibles weighing a total of 29.1 pounds, THC pre-roll weighing a total of 1.8 pounds, THC flower weighing a total of 4.45 pounds, and THC vapes.

Unfortunately for Addabbo, his October victory against the smoke shop was short-lived and it continued to operate. However, he once again leaned on the NYPD 102nd Precinct and Sheriff’s office to close it down. This time, he appears to be successful.

In the scope of the larger issue with thousands of smoke shops selling cannabis illegally, Addabbo said that his fight, although valued, is one of many that need to come.

“We shut down Magic Pack, and now customers have to walk down an extra block,” Addabbo said, noting that there are other illegal shops nearby.

In the past year, Addabbo has successfully shut the doors of another smoke shop caught illegally selling cannabis. The Plug Smoke Shop, which was located on Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill, gained notoriety following the death of a 20-year-old employee after a robbery turned violent.

The businesses appeared to reopen after the shooting and Addabbo once again stepped forward, with the help of law enforcement, to shut down the shop. Another storefront with the same business name resides on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale.

As a proponent of more swift action against smoke shops, Addabbo joins fellow lawmakers to help eliminate illegal cannabis sales. Addabbo sponsored a bill to close a legal loophole on drug-impaired driving in New York, which will include adding a test for marijuana in a police car stop.

Council Members Lynn Schulman and Joann Ariola also co-sponsored legislation that became law last year that cracks down on illegal smoke shops by fining property owners. Addabbo said that legislation helped add pressure on the landlord of the Magic Pack building to further prevent leasing the space to the business.

Additionally, a bill sponsored by Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar seeks to eliminate illegal smoke shops by giving municipalities, including the NYPD, overarching power to close illegal cannabis businesses. The enactment of this bill would likely streamline the process to shut down a smoke shop selling cannabis without a license — a procedure Addabbo says would have helped in his situation with Magic Pack.