Illegal storefronts in NY raided, resulting in seizure of over $54M worth of 11,000 pounds of marijuana

In a recent crackdown on unlicensed storefronts, the administration of Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed that authorities have confiscated over 11,000 pounds of illegally sold cannabis products. These seized products have an estimated value of more than $54 million.

The state’s Office of Cannabis Management recently announced a significant victory in court on November 21. This legal triumph will pave the way for a more streamlined process of shutting down and permanently closing illegally operated marijuana stores.

During inspections carried out in the previous month, authorities were able to confiscate a significant amount of illegal cannabis products. These included 812 pounds of flower, 701 pounds of edibles, and 61 pounds of cannabis concentrate, with an estimated value of $7.3 million.

In the past year, a total of 350 locations underwent inspection, with 88 of these locations being re-inspected. As a result, a staggering 11,000 pounds of marijuana, estimated to be worth $54 million, was seized.

Chris Alexander, the executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety in the state’s cannabis market as they move forward. He stated, “We are dedicated to shutting down illegal operators and ensuring a safe environment for all.”

“The key solution to addressing the issue of illicit shops is the establishment of more legal businesses. New Yorkers have a strong desire to be aware of the origins of their products, and they have confidence in the safety, reliability, and locally sourced cannabis when they visit authorized dispensaries.”

In the spring, Hochul and the legislature took action by passing a law that increases the penalties for unlicensed operators. This move was prompted by the rise of such operators in New York City, estimated to be as many as 1,500, as highlighted by Mayor Eric Adams and Sheriff Anthony Miranda.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers fell short in addressing the enforcement of illicit operators when they passed the law legalizing the adult use and sale of marijuana in 2021. As a result, a significant black market emerged even before the legal market had a chance to establish itself.

The penalties for illegally selling cannabis have been significantly increased, with fines now starting at $10,000 per day. For those who continue to engage in serious misconduct, the fines can escalate to $20,000 per day. It is important to note that additional fines may also be imposed.

Regulators have the authority to seek a court order to effectively shut down businesses that are found to be repeatedly violating the law.

Selling cannabis and cannabis products without a license is now considered a crime under the law.

There are currently 27 licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries in New York State, with 12 of them situated in the city.

Regulators have given their approval for 44 Cannabis Growers Showcases, which are essentially farmers markets where marijuana products are sold.

Many cannabis industry licensees and applicants have expressed frustration over the slow and turbulent implementation process, which has been partially attributed to ongoing lawsuits.

Farmers have expressed their frustration with being burdened by large quantities of unsellable marijuana plants as a result of the lawsuits, impacting a total of 426 licensees.

Last week, the Hochul administration and cannabis control board reached a settlement in a discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed that the state showed favoritism towards convicted pot felons when granting licenses to sell legal marijuana, instead of prioritizing disabled veterans.

In August, a court injunction was issued that blocked new licensing and store openings, causing the marijuana industry to be stuck in a legal limbo.

State regulators are anticipated to increase their approval and opening of new licensed cannabis shops in the coming months now that the legal issues have been resolved.

More News:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *