ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) — “Sticker shops” and other unlicensed cannabis facilities might soon face penalties after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation aimed at illegal weed sales. The measure makes it a crime to sell cannabis and cannabis products without a license.
Part of the 2024 budget, the legislation would increase civil and tax penalties by empowering the Office of Cannabis Management and the Department of Taxation and Finance to take on unlicensed storefronts and trucks. OCM would assess civil fines for unlicensed weed businesses up to $20,000 a day for the worst offenders.
According to the Governor’s Office, this legislation will let the OCM inspections weed products and businesses like “sticker shops” that sell and give away cannabis as gifts. It would let the OCM seize untested cannabis and cannabis products from unlicensed businesses and seek court orders, closing orders, and removal of commercial tenants who sell without a license.
“Unlicensed dispensaries violate our laws, put public health at risk, and undermine the legal cannabis market,” Hochul said. “With these enforcement tools, we’re paving the way for safer products, reinvestment in communities that endured years of disproportionate enforcement, and greater opportunities for New Yorkers.”
To date, OCM has awarded 165 licenses with more to be awarded in May 2023 at the Cannabis Control Board meeting. There are currently eight successful dispensaries and one delivery operation in the state, with more dispensaries to open in the coming weeks and months.