New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday a new law to combat the state’s persistent illegal cannabis dealers. The bill, which already has the support of dozens of lawmakers in the New York State Senate and Legislature, gives regulators such as the Cannabis Control and Tax Finance Offices to enforce regulations and close stores that engage in illegal cannabis. We are strengthening our powers of closure. sale.
“Over the past few weeks, I have been working with Congress on new legislation to improve New York’s regulatory structure for cannabis products.” hochul he said in a statement from the Governor’s Office. “The continued existence of illegal dispensing pharmacies is unacceptable. We need additional enforcement tools to protect New Yorkers from dangerous products and to support our equity initiatives.”
New York to legalize recreational weed in 2021
New York will legalize cannabis for adult use in 2021, and the first recreational marijuana dispensary opened in Manhattan late last year. Only four are open statewide. Meanwhile, the number of unlicensed cannabis outlets has skyrocketed, and newly licensed cannabis industry operators and others are forcing state officials to take action against illegal operators.
under proposed law As Hochul announced Wednesday, New York’s tax and cannabis laws allow the Office of Cannabis Control (OCM), the Department of Tax Finance (DTF), and local law enforcement to impose restrictions on unlicensed over-the-counter sales. will be corrected to The law does not impose new penalties on possession of cannabis for personal use by individuals and does not allow local law enforcement officers to enforce marijuana enforcement against individuals.
“For the first time, this law will allow OCM and DTF to crack down on unauthorized activity, protect New Yorkers and ensure the success of new cannabis businesses in New York,” the governor’s office wrote. “This law would reframe current illegal cannabis penalties to give enforcement powers to DTF peace officers, create a manageable, credible and fair enforcement system, and enable retailers to avoid state cannabis taxes. We will impose new penalties on the operators.”
The bill would clarify and expand OCM’s authority to seize illegal cannabis products, establish outline procedures for OCM and other government agencies to close unlicensed businesses, and promote more effective cooperation between agencies. Create a framework for your efforts.
Violating the law can result in fines of up to $200,000 for illegal cannabis plants or products. The law allows OCM to impose fines of up to $10,000 per day on businesses engaged in selling cannabis without a state permit.
Elliott Choi, chief knowledge officer at cannabis and psychedelics law firm Vicente LLP, welcomes the use of financial penalties instead of prison sentences to help it reign supreme in New York’s illegal cannabis market. bottom.
“Governor Ho-Chol’s proposed legislation is very welcome as previous efforts to combat illegal pharmacies appear to have had little impact,” Choi wrote in the following email. high times“We support the use of fines rather than imprisonment to avoid re-criminalization and the return of what resembled the previously failed drug war.”
In addition to fines for unlicensed cannabis operators, penalizing property owners who rent to unlicensed operators is also the right tool for state cannabis regulators, tasked with managing underground operators. Called for increased funding for state agencies.
“Landlords should not have an incentive to rent to illegal operators and should be financially punished for doing so,” Choi said. “Finally, both OCM and the Ministry of Taxes and Finance need additional resources to enforce, as OCM already has sufficient volume to finalize regulations and issue corresponding licenses in a timely manner. is.”