A second roll-your-own-cigarette smoke shop, Green Leaf Smokes, has opened up at 1326 Sheepshead Bay Road, off the corner of East 14th Street. It’s the second such business to open in the area, following the November opening of City Smokes at 2695 Coney Island Avenue.
These shops allow customers to come in and pick a blend of “organic” tobacco that is mixed to emulate the flavors of big brands. Customers buy the tobacco loose, purchase papers and filters, and then use the store’s rolling machines to roll up their own cigarettes.
It’s a new type of business designed to get around the high taxes the city charges for pre-rolled cigarettes. However, two of the oldest stores in New York City – one in Chinatown and one in Manhattan – were the target of a city lawsuit claiming they’re illegally dodging the taxes, since customers still walk out of the store with rolled cigarrettes.
We asked an employee of Green Leaf if he was nervous that the city could come after him next, but he said he was unaware of the lawsuit. However, he acknowledged it’s a totally new business model that operates in a grey area, and that, regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, Green Leaf will follow all local laws. Besides, he said, his selling point isn’t the lower taxes, it’s the “organic” and “healthier” nature of his smokes.