A 4/20 party in New York City was shut down on Monday by police, who issued dozens of citations to revelers celebrating the cannabis community’s high holiday. Officers were tipped off to the party on the third floor of a Manhattan commercial building by a concerned citizen, a senior NYPD official told NBC News.
After being flagged down by the citizen, officers investigated the report because of a statewide order that bans large gatherings and requires New Yorkers to maintain social distancing protocols. After entering the building and reaching the third floor, police discovered approximately 40 people, who had reportedly gathered for a 4/20 party hosted by cannabis edibles company Ganja Pigs. Police also found a duffel bag that contained marijuana flower, as well as cannabis edibles, other THC products, and paraphernalia. Attempts to reach Ganja Pigs for comment via social media have not yet been successful.
Police officers issued summonses to appear in court to a total of 38 people. Five more citations for charges related to cannabis were given to partygoers. Two of the people at the party were taken into custody for existing warrants for failure to appear in court in relation to non-violent offenses. Another was taken to police officers in Brooklyn in connection with an ongoing burglary investigation.
Partying During A Pandemic
Monday’s 4/20 party wasn’t the only large gathering to be shut down by New York City police officers in recent days. On Saturday evening, police were called to investigate what they originally believed to be a video shoot with dozens of people in attendance at a storefront in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn. Upon further investigation, however, officers discovered that the gathering was actually connected to gambling. Police made two arrests at the party and issued summons to at least 60 people.
Both the 4/20 celebration and the gambling party violated the “New York State on Pause” order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 22 to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. The order bans parties and other non-essential gatherings. Violators who are cited by police face substantial fines.
Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have expressed concern that as the stay-at-home order extends into its second month and the weather warms, residents will begin to ignore social distancing guidelines and begin gathering again. De Blasio called on New Yorkers to notify the authorities of violations they encounter.
“I don’t like that New Yorkers will have to call in reports… but it does have to happen,” de Blasio said Sunday morning. “If we don’t follow the rules, the elderly will suffer. We are supposed to love and honor them, but they will be in danger.”