During the first three weeks of enforcement actions against unlicensed cannabis retailers in New York, regulators have seized nearly $11 million worth of products and a minimum of 1,000 pounds of cannabis.
In a press release, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said unlicensed cannabis businesses violate state laws, put public health at risk, and undermine the state’s legal cannabis market.
“…With the powerful new tools in our toolbelt we’re sending a clear and strong message: if you sell illegal cannabis in New York, you will be caught and you will be stopped.” — Hochul in a statement
Earlier this month, state officials approved emergency regulations to crack down on illegal cannabis retailers. Under the rules, which cover both unlicensed sales of hemp and delta-9 cannabis products, regulators are permitted to seize products from unlicensed cannabis retailers, shut down the businesses, and issue fines.
Since June 7, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) have jointly conducted inspections at 33 storefront businesses in New York City, Ithaca, and Binghamton not licensed to sell cannabis. The businesses face fines starting at $10,000 per day, which rise up to $20,000 per day for “the most egregious conduct,” the governor’s office said. The new law has also authorized the agency to seek a state court order to ultimately padlock businesses found to be in repeated violation of the law, among other penalties.
In a statement, OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander called the three-week action “a sharp warning to every business selling cannabis without a license.”
“Thanks to the governor’s efforts, our enforcement teams are out every day putting an end to the proliferation of unlicensed cannabis sales across New York State,” he said in a statement. “Supporting local entrepreneurs launching legal cannabis businesses with safe and tested licensed products is paramount. OCM is committed to protecting public health and ensuring consumer safety.”
In all, 31 businesses were issued violation notices.
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