New York State recently launched an effort to address the unlawful selling of cannabis, which has been a problem for the legal cannabis industry in the state. Following an agreement in last month’s state budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced a multi-agency effort that will include the Office of Cannabis Management and Department of Taxation and Finance to inspect storefront businesses that are not licensed to sell cannabis in the state.
The enforcement officers will be issuing violations and orders to cease unlicensed activity when needed. The effort is aimed at protecting those who have invested in legal businesses and ensuring that underage people do not get access to untested cannabis products. It will also generate funds for a social equity fund to help communities that have been hit hard by over-prosecution of cannabis laws in the past.
New York State is committed to carrying out the most equitable legal cannabis roll-out in the nation, and unlicensed operators selling untested products to minors undermine those efforts, according to Gov. Hochul. She added that these enforcement actions are critical steps to protect and help individuals who were promised an opportunity to start a legal business and be successful.
In May, lawmakers and Gov. Hochul agreed to provisions designed to reduce illegal cannabis sales with a focus on civil, rather than criminal penalties. With the new law, cannabis regulators can assess civil penalties on businesses with fines of up to $20,000 per day. The law also created a tax fraud charge for businesses that violate tax collection laws related to cannabis.
“The successful enforcement actions against unlicensed storefronts and trucks selling cannabis in New York City serves as a clear message that New York State is serious about curtailing the operations of illicit enterprises,” said Tremaine Wright, the chair of the state Cannabis Control Board. “By enforcing the law, empowered by new legislation, we are safeguarding public safety and the integrity of the legal cannabis market. Our mission is to create a fair and regulated environment that supports licensed businesses and protects consumers.”
Overall, this latest effort by New York State is a big step towards ensuring that the legal cannabis market is safe and profitable for licensed operators while protecting the interests of consumers.
- Governor Kathy Hochul Announces Multi-Agency Enforcement Effort to Combat Unlicensed Cannabis in New York
- New York State Senate Bill S854A
Unlicensed cannabis sales are a problem that the legal cannabis industry has been battling for a long time. It undermines the efforts of those who have invested in legal businesses, and can be dangerous for consumers as untested products can be harmful. Efforts like the one launched by New York State are critical to ensure that only licensed operators can sell cannabis, which will help ensure that the legal cannabis market is safe and profitable for everyone involved.