This week, New York City civic leaders pledged to step up action to address a surge in unlicensed marijuana retailers just weeks after regulated sales of adult-use cannabis began in the nation’s most populous city. Did. At a New York City Council meeting on Wednesday, officials pledged to tighten crackdowns on unlicensed cannabis retailers, while the state legislature drafted new legislation to give law enforcement additional powers to close illegal pot shops. said that he is
“We know there are illegal cannabis stores, vans and street vendors on what looks like every block in New York City,” said Gail Brewer, chairman of the council’s Oversight and Investigations Committee. Lawmakers said at a hearing of the council’s Consumer and Workers Committee. protection.
“The surge in cannabis retailers over the past 22 months has been largely unchecked by cities and states.” she added in a statement quoted by daily news“It seems to me that these illegal shops are siphoning income that should go to licensed pharmacies.”
Task force finds 1,200 illegal potshops in new york city
In December, New York City Mayor Eric Adams launched a pilot interagency task force to address the rise of unlicensed retailers. A task force including the Sheriff’s Office, the NYPD, the Consumer and Worker Protection Agency, and the Cannabis Control Agency has identified at least 1,200 unlicensed marijuana shops in the city. It said it revealed 11 unlicensed stores selling cannabis within a 10-block radius of the city’s first licensed retailer.
“A wave of unlicensed sellers in the state’s largest market threatens to undermine the commendable efforts made by the state’s cannabis legalization laws,” Brewer said.
At Wednesday’s hearing, officials from the city’s sheriff’s office, the NYPD, the Department of Health, and other local agencies appeared to talk to members of the city council about the number of unlicensed cannabis retailers in the city. I was. New York City Sheriff Anthony Miranda said about 600 pounds of weed had been seized from an illegal store, subject to civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.
“The task force continues, our activity is increasing, and the crackdown we have has doubled, if not tripled,” Miranda said. “We want them to know the kind of law enforcement that is going on, and we want them to understand that we are not going away.”
State Senators Promise New Law
State Senator Liz Krueger, who was a major sponsor of New York’s cannabis legalization bill in the Senate, said during a period of public comment that she understands the frustrations caused by unlicensed retailers. She added lawmakers will take new action on enforcement during the 2023 legislative session.
“We will be implementing new expanded legislation that will give states, police, sheriffs and marshals more tools,” Krueger said, noting that unlicensed stores “are hurting the whole model we’ve been trying to do.” I am,” he added. To build and establish statewide. ”
Elliot Choi, chief knowledge officer at cannabis and psychedelics law firm Vicente Cederberg LLP, said that if the legal market is to succeed in New York, it will have to deal with illegal pharmacies. rice field.
“It costs money to acquire and maintain legal cannabis dispensaries bypassed by illegal dispensaries,” Choi wrote in an email. high times“The ability for illegal dispensaries to sell cannabis products cheaply creates an unfair advantage, especially since they don’t collect taxes.”
Choi also pointed out that unlicensed cannabis retailers pose a danger to unwitting consumers.
“Many consumers have the misconception that the products they sell are safe because illegal pharmacies are licensed,” Choi said. “But often that is not the case because illegal pharmacies sell unregulated products that have been shown to be contaminated.”
Mark Sims, president and CEO of cannabis products company RIV Capital, agreed. investigation report Last year, a survey of the products of illegal businesses in New York found that the illegal products on sale failed 100% of the state’s cannabis testing standards and contained heavy metals and dangerous toxins such as E. coli.
“This report highlights one of the main reasons why it’s so important for state regulators to work with local governments and law enforcement to stop illegal activity,” said Sims. rice field. high times“It’s great that the New York City Council and law enforcement are taking these public health concerns seriously, and we urge state cannabis regulators to support these efforts to close the illegal market. There is certainly work to be done here to protect consumers, but this is a step in the right direction.”