New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill last month that could help probe possible ties between terrorist networks and New York City’s illegal smoke shops — but a legislative compromise to delay implementation for three years is throwing up a major hurdle, sources told The Post.

Hochul in the final days of 2023 signed the LLC Transparency Act, which gives law enforcement the right to stop any limited liability company, known as an LLC, from doing business in New York that does not disclose the identity of its owner.

While proponents of the new law have mainly been looking to crack down on bum landlords, some experts say it also could aid a much-needed clampdown on terrorist networks — including Houthi rebels in Yemen who lately have been attacking cargo ships in the Red Sea.

“Many of us suspect there are international links,” State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, who co-sponsored the legislation, said of the smoke shops. “We don’t know if they are fronts for terror organizations like the Houthis but we have seen stranger uses for money laundering.”

Hoylman-Sigal said he discussed the terrorism concerns in December with Hochul’s office.

As reported by The Post, some New York lawmakers fret that the city’s fast-growing chains of marijuana shops — spanning as many as 8,000 locations, according to a city council estimate — could be a source of cash for Middle East terror groups including the Houthis and Hezbollah. Most of the smoke shops are listed as LLCs.

There are a few key obstacles, however — among them the fact that the law as signed by Hochul delays the new disclosure requirements until the end of 2026.

In response, Hoylman-Sigal said he plans to support a bill early this year that gives New York City and its police force the authority to inspect illegal stores.

Currently, only the state’s Office of Cannabis Management and sheriff have that authority.

He also said he supports a budget proposal from Gov. Hochul’s that could give the OCM the ability to empower the NYPD to close illegal shops.

The language of that proposal has not yet been presented to the state legislature.

“I think the law now is so Byzantine and confusing that I haven’t seen any expressed authority even granted to the attorney general,” Hoylman-Sigal said.

In October, former DEA Agent Chris Urben, a managing director for global investigative firm Nardello & Co., told The Post that federal agents in recent years have gathered evidence that cash from K2 drug sales across New York City has helped fund Yemen-based Houthi fighters.

“A significant part of the synthetic narcotics were being sold in recent years through New York gas stations and bodegas, and there is a strong likelihood that significant dollars from those sales were sent to Houthi militias,” Urben said.

More broadly, weed that ends up at some of the illegal smoke shops has been linked to Chinese criminal networks which are among the biggest cannabis growers in the US, according to Urben.

The Chinese rogue financiers have also historically done business with Lebanese money-laundering networks, according to Urben.

When the latter are involved, there is likely a connection with Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, he adds.

While the LLC Transparency Act is a good first step, Urben is skeptical that it will solve the problem.

“The illegal shops are not going to reveal the true owners based on this law,” Urben said. “But it forces them to adapt and change. The network now has to conspire to conceal the true owners.”

White collar defense attorney Brian Ketcham agreed, saying he expects many illegal smoke shop owners will list “straw men” as owners, although these people will not own the required 25% minimum under the new law.

Under the new law, law enforcement will be able to demand three years of tax returns.

Illegal smoke shops often do not pay taxes, giving police a means to threaten the “straw men” with criminal prosecution.

“I think the LLC Act will probably get off to a slow start but get more effective over time when law enforcement uses the names of these straw-men owners to mine for leads,” Ketcham said. “This will make it a whole lot easier to get to the true bad actor.”

Enforcement agencies have picked up the pace of cannabis store inspections since the City Council in June passed a law holding commercial landlords responsible for renting storefronts to illegal smoke shops.

Earlier this month, state inspectors seized marijuana being sold illegally at a Brooklyn “cannabis cafe” that brazenly posted a bogus state license in the window of its storefront, The Post reported.

“There have been 369 inspections, including 103 re-inspections of locations believed to be selling cannabis without being duly licensed. As a result of these inspections, 305 notices of violation/ orders to cease have been issued and over 11,600 pounds of illicit products with an estimated street value of $55 million has been seized,” New York State OCM spokesman Aaron Ghitelman told The Post.

“As we work with the Department of Taxation and Finance and other partners in government across the State to end this illicit activity, a new LLC database accessible to state agencies has the potential to improve our ability to find the owners of these storefronts and hold them accountable,” Ghitelman added.

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