The New York City Sheriff's office seized at least a dozen trucks operating for Weed World Candies, which may or may not be shopping more than CBD products, for outstanding parking tickets totaling a half-million dollars, officials said Tuesday.
Twelve trucks were towed from the area of 45th Street and 12th Avenue in Manhattan Tuesday morning and officials said more were expected to be towed from an area near 38th Street and 10th Avenue later in the day. The amount of parking ticket debt in judgment right now is $316,000, though the total outstanding debt is $504,000.
Some of the vehicles towed Tuesday were towed because their tickets were in judgment, while others were towed just because they were parked illegally. The sheriff's office says commercial vehicles aren't allowed to park in the areas where they were or will be seized. In the 45th Street case, they allegedly were parked there overnight.
"This has absolutely nothing to do with marijuana, it only has to do with unpaid debt. Judgement debt, that’s not paid and owed to the city of New York," said NYC Depute Sheriff Maureen Kokeas. "The Department of Finance has communicated with these parties many, many, many times over many years trying to collect this debt, and the debt was ignored — so we went out and took enforcement action.”
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The owner of Weed World, Bilal Muhammad, told NBC New York over the phone that the company "is not trying to get around paying tickets. The city makes a lot of money off of Weed World, we will make sure our debt are paid.”
A Weed World spokesperson said the company was aware of "some unpaid parking tickets" and in the process of addressing the situation. The spokesperson said the company was in the process of doing so last week, before Tuesday's seizure, to manage tickets stemming from employees who are no longer with the company.
"It's like the responsibility was left on the company because it was really the responsibility of the contractors who didn't make good on the tickets," the Weed World representative said. "So they just left on the company to take that burden, that's it."
Muhammad said that the company's ticket situation "got out of hand" after the contractors didn't pay, leaving Weed World to deal with it. He said they "took for granted tickets were just being taken care of," and that going forward, tickets will be paid on time.
"We’re taking this seriously and the people that don’t play by the rules should have to pay," said Depute Sheriff Kokeas.
According to its website, Weed World Candies launched in 1999 with the goal to get marijuana and hemp legalized and industrialized.
"We tour the country in a fleet of 'loud' vehicles promoting the legalization and decriminalization of the cannabis plant and all its components," it says.
It's not clear what the so-called "weed trucks" were selling in Weed World's name. The website lists only CBD products, which lack THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and says its campers sell "lollipops."
Weed World's vehicles will not be released from the impound lot until the parking tickets are paid off.