New York marijuana regulators have put 52 unlicensed cannabis retailers on notice, publicizing dozens of cease and desist letters that they have sent to businesses accused of illegally selling marijuana as the state prepares to launch its adult-use market.
The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) said that the storefronts are falsely claiming to be legal cannabis shops, without a license and without adhering to product testing requirements, which could jeopardize public health.
As stated in the letters, businesses that receive the warning and continue to sell marijuana without permission could be permanently barred from getting a license when regulators begin to issue them, which is expected to start happening later this year.
Regulators previously sounded the alarm about retailers that have attempted to exploit a “gifting” provision of the state’s cannabis law by selling non-marijuana products and then giving away “free” cannabis.
“There are no businesses currently licensed to sell adult-use cannabis in New York State,” Tremaine Wright, chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB), said in a press release. “Selling any item or taking a donation, and then ‘gifting’ a customer a bag of untested cannabis does indeed count as a sale under New York’s Cannabis Law.”
“You need a license to sell cannabis in New York. Licensed sales and a regulated market are the only way New York’s customers will be assured that the cannabis products they are purchasing have been tested and tracked from seed to sale,” she said. “Sale of untested products put lives at risk. I implore these illegal store operators, and any other stores pretending to be legal operations, to stop selling cannabis products immediately.”