Marijuana regulators in New York have sent dozens of cease and desist letters to businesses accused of selling marijuana illegally.
The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) explains why these businesses are receiving notices and makes it clear that getting the police involved is not a priority. They claim these stores, which imply they’re selling legal cannabis, don’t follow the state’s rules and regulations for selling cannabis and put the public at risk of consuming untested products while confusing them.
The cease and desist letters serve as a warning and were sent out to 52 businesses whose odds of getting a license (once they’re available) may decrease if they continue to sell weed.
“You need a license to sell cannabis in New York. Licensed sales and a regulated market are the only way New York’s customers will be assured that the cannabis products they are purchasing have been tested and tracked from seed to sale,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board.
“Sale of untested products put lives at risk,” she added. “I implore these illegal store operators, and any other stores pretending to be legal operations, to stop selling cannabis products immediately.”
Illegal cannabis businesses in New York have thrived over the past year, appearing in a variety of locations in the forms of pop-ups, weed trucks, and more. While a legal cannabis market is yet to be established, the state decriminalized marijuana and allows adults over the age of 21 to possess and publicly consume cannabis. They also allow them to gift cannabis to others as long as people don’t receive money or compensation in exchange.
Responsible parties are asking for patience from cannabis sellers, especially as the state gets its start and tries to prioritize those who’ve been harmed by the war on drugs. They ask communities to be forthright and to help identify illegal sellers while keeping the police as uninvolved as possible.
Businesses that received cease and desist letters were issued a warning without any police involvement or threats of arrests.