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NYC cracks down on illegal weed shops

NYC cracks down on illegal weed shops

By Blake Jackson

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new initiative to crack down on illegal cannabis businesses in New York. The plan, included in the FY25 budget, grants new authority to the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and local municipalities to take action against unlicensed storefronts.

This initiative is the strongest set of policies implemented yet to address the black market for cannabis. It focuses on three key areas:

  • Shutting down illegal dispensaries: OCM will have the power to padlock stores selling cannabis without a license, especially if they pose a health or safety risk. These risks include sales to minors, presence of firearms, or products that lack proper testing or labeling. Local authorities will also have padlocking authority.
  • Holding landlords accountable: Landlords who knowingly allow illegal cannabis activity on their property will face penalties. This includes fines for landlords in New York City and the possibility of losing licenses for businesses operating illegally within the property, like those selling alcohol or tobacco. Additionally, it's now easier for landlords to evict tenants running illegal cannabis businesses.
  • Empowering local enforcement: Counties and cities will have more control over regulating unlicensed cannabis businesses. They can create their own inspection and enforcement procedures, including emergency padlocking mirroring the state's process. Localities can also initiate legal action against both unlicensed businesses and landlords, allowing them to collect penalties.

Governor Hochul is also establishing a statewide task force to target the supply chain of illegal cannabis and dismantle the network supporting these businesses. Additionally, a special provision grants New York City immediate enforcement powers, allowing them to inspect, issue violations, and seize cannabis products from unlicensed stores.

These measures aim to level the playing field for legal cannabis businesses and protect public health by eliminating the sale of untested and potentially harmful cannabis products.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-jessicahyde

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Categories: New York, Government & Policy

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