GATES, N.Y. (WROC) — Chief Robert Long with the Gates Police Department says smoke shops selling marijuana is definitely a problem. 

“We’re looking into the different shops that are doing it, and it’s not because we’re out to stop people from using marijuana which was legalized,” said Long.

He wants to make that distinction clear. Smoking pot is okay. Selling it at a store is against the law. He says this illegal business —usually done with cash— actually leads to more crime. 

“They’re bringing in large volumes of cash —for something that can turn out to— one of their clerks can get shot and killed over a robbery,” he said, adding, “We’re getting a lot of the smash-and-grabs with the cars crashing into the buildings and robberies, and we want to stop and prevent that.”

He said the rollout on this from the state was rushed. “We legalized marijuana but we never put in what the regulations are going to be on the state side,” said Long.

Take a bad bar for instance. There’s a liquor authority to investigate that. “Currently there’s none of that in place for marijuana sales,” he said.

It’s one of the reasons Gates ‘opted out’ of selling marijuana when the time comes for our region. Long said, though the town can always decide to ‘opt in’ at a later date.

Right now there’s a term that kind of fits all this now: “A weed speakeasy,” he said.

Gates Police Chief Robert Long

And be careful of this pot. Long says none of it is regulated yet. “I mean they’ve put different things into them, we’ve seen marijuana laced with fentanyl in town,” he said.

But Long wants to make it clear —it’s the few bad stores they’re looking at; most smoke and vape shops are doing the right thing.

“There’s a lot of them out there, hard-working people just like us,” he said.

On Friday, Long said they are meeting with the Greece Police Department to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures to learn how to better keep the rouge smoke shops in line with the law. 

The police chief did want to remind anyone getting behind the wheel that any amount of marijuana beforehand can be deadly and can result in charges.