New York cannabis board says businesses giving away marijuana are breaking the law

“This conduct is not legal and must stop. Individuals who do not cease run the risk of severe financial penalties.”

WXX1 News reports..

The head of the state’s Cannabis Control Board has declared that businesses that are giving away marijuana as a promotion with the purchase of an overpriced T-shirt, lighter or other item are breaking the law.

Tremaine Wright, the former state Assemblymember who chairs the regulatory body for New York’s newborn marijuana industry, addressed the increasingly common practice during a meeting last week.

“There is no gray market in New York state,” Wright said. “This conduct is not legal and must stop. Individuals who do not cease run the risk of severe financial penalties.”

His remarks did not elaborate on what grounds “severe financial penalties” could be leveled, but added that anyone selling marijuana products in unlicensed dispensaries, pop-up shops, or markets is not licensed, “nor are they selling safe, tested products.”

Last month, CITY published an article highlighting a Henrietta business, HempSol CBD, that was offering a “free” eighth of an ounce of marijuana with the purchase of a $65 T-shirt. The owner of the shop claimed the promotional “gift” was legal under the state’s recreational cannabis law, which allows for adults to give each other up to three ounces of cannabis without compensation.

Since the article’s publication, marijuana “gifting” arrangements have become commonplace at the city’s CBD and smoke shops.

HempSol CBD owner Jim Mackenzie said he’s seeking guidance from his attorney and declined comment for this story.

The state legalized the possession of marijuana by anyone over the age of 21 through the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which was signed into law on March 31. It also legalized regulated sales of cannabis, with “regulated” being the operative word.

The act specifies that legal, licensed, taxed sales can begin only after the state approves regulations governing those sales and the businesses making them. Dispensaries on Native American reservations are the only exception to that rule, and so far, the state has been slow to act.


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