ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The state is passing new regulations to crack down on unregulated Cannabis dispensaries and help consumers identify unlicensed dispensaries. The moves come as Office of Cannabis Management agents seized products from 11 unlicensed dispensaries in New York City.
“When you don’t have a licensed business that’s abiding by the state regulations, there’s concerns that there’s laxer enforcement in terms of purchasing the products from people who aren’t 21 years of age and older, making sure that really cannabis products are going to the people who are allowed to purchase and have them” said Brandon Kurtzman, Partner at Vincente, LLP New York. The firm represents Cannabis dispensaries across the country.
The OCM & the Department of Taxation will adopt new measures such as criminalizing the sale of unlicensed Cannabis products, and creating a new tax fraud crime for vendors that knowingly fail to collect or pay required Cannabis taxes.
Why exactly is unlicensed Cannabis an issue for consumers? Kurtzman says it’s a safety issue because consumers won’t know where their product is coming from and it might get into the wrong hands.
“You don’t know where it’s coming from and you don’t know whether it’s been tested,” warned Kurtzman.
How can you tell what dispensaries have a license with tested products?
“If you are walking by a business that is purporting to be a licensed retailer. If it doesn’t have that sticker from the state or alternatively, it has a sticker consumer would know the difference between a licensed and unlicensed retailer” Kurtzman explained.
Storefront inspections are also a part of the new legislation. Any unlicensed business that continues selling Cannabis after being caught may be subject to daily fines maxing out at $20,000 or closure.