Baraka: Newark to crack down on smoke shops (illegally) distributing cannabis

File photo Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

It seems like a smart business model: Buy a vaping product, get cannabis as a “gift.”

It’s just not legal. And Newark Mayor Ras Baraka made it clear Monday that the city will go after all businesses that attempt an end-around of cannabis distribution rules and regulations.

“While we are moving forward in accordance with the state of New Jersey’s licensing process to legalize cannabis sales in the city of Newark, unscrupulous owners of ‘smoke shops’ are attempting to violate this process by raising the prices on ‘vapes’ and ‘hookahs’ and offering free cannabis with them as a fake ‘gift’ with the purchased item,” he said.

“At this time, in the city of Newark, no one has been issued a cannabis license and selling it or providing it is illegal.”

Baraka, in an angry tone, said the city would go after businesses who attempt such a scheme.

“Doing so is an act of defrauding the consumer and contempt for the law,” he said. “We have no tolerance for this kind of profiteering.

“We have set up an enforcement operation aimed at addressing the situation, and those establishments who are caught selling and distributing cannabis will be closed down indefinitely and face action in court.”