A New York state senator wrote a letter to the state’s cannabis control agency urging leaders to take “aggressive action” after witnessing an unlicensed cannabis retailer in their neighborhood.
Senator Brad Hoilman-Segal, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and representative of New York’s 47th Senate District on Manhattan’s West Side, is fed up with the unlicensed cannabis shops and pharmacies that fill his streets.
Hoyleman-Sigal writes: open letter On July 17, I addressed Christopher Alexander, Executive Director of the Cannabis Control Board, and Tremaine Wright, Chairman of the Cannabis Control Board, calling for immediate action.
“In the 2023 budget, the New York legislature gave the Cannabis Control Office (OCM) and the Department of Taxation and Treasury (DTF) additional authority to deal with unlicensed cannabis distributors,” Hoyleman-Segal wrote. “This includes conducting inspections, imposing civil penalties, seeking injunctions to close stores, etc. I am grateful that OCM and DTF have begun to take action. Given the serious problems caused by these stores, I urge OCM and DTF to continue to act quickly and aggressively to close these unauthorized stores.”
Hoyleman-Sigal noted the seriousness of the problem, such as the stores scattered across Manhattan.
“The scale of these unlicensed stores is staggering, with over 100 identified in Hell’s Kitchen alone. Like I have. previously expressed, these stores deceive consumers, are harmful to public health, cheat taxes, undermine legal cannabis deployments based on state stocks, and have little incentive to check IDs to make sure they aren’t selling to minors. Additionally, these stores are unregulated and have little oversight, posing a danger to employees and neighbors. ”
Hoyleman-Segal went one step further, naming unlicensed pharmacies and pharmacies that received complaints.
“I am enclosing a list of stores that have been reported by voters and a list of unauthorized Hell’s Kitchen stores compiled by the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Coalition. We urge the OCM to act quickly to close these stores.”
New York State Takes Action Against Unlicensed Cannabis Dispensary Epidemic
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has also stepped up efforts to address the illegal pharmacy situation.
The New York State Cannabis Authority and the Department of Taxation and Finance began inspecting unauthorized stores in early June under a new law signed into law by Gov. Hochul a month earlier in May.
of new law The bill, signed into law by the governor in May, is part of the state’s 2024 budget. Enhanced penalties include fines of up to $20,000 per day used to deter illegal activity.
“Under the new powers I fought for in this year’s state budget, we can now crack down on companies that sell cannabis illegally. I’m proud to have seized $11 million worth of illegal goods from the streets in the first three weeks alone,” Gochul said. “These unlicensed businesses are violating our laws, endangering public health, and undermining the legal cannabis market. And with powerful new tools in our toolbelt, we are sending a clear and powerful message: If you sell illegal cannabis in New York, you will be caught and stopped.”
The New York City Council is also intervening. At a New York City Council meeting last January, officials pledged to crack down on unlicensed cannabis retailers and said the state legislature was drafting new legislation to give law enforcement additional powers to close illegal cannabis stores. For now, it’s easy to find unlicensed stores in the state.