NY readies crackdown on illegal pot stores
Thousands of illegal marijuana stores in New York City could soon face huge fines and closure, as state regulators are planning a crackdown on illicit weed operators and their landlords, according to reports by The New York Post. The state Office of Cannabis Management announced that new legislation, recently approved by Governor Kathy Hochul and the state legislature, allows fines of up to $20,000 a day for illegal pot sellers, and makes it easier for authorities to close them down. Landlords that help illegal activity could also face penalties. The crackdown follows a slow and rocky rollout of New York’s legal cannabis program. Last year, Hochul predicted that 20 new legal dispensaries would open every month by the start of 2023, but only one shop was operational at the beginning of this year, causing legalized growers to complain of mountains of aging marijuana crops, while the black market has continued to thrive.
What is the new legislation that has been approved by Governor Kathy Hochul and the state legislature?
The new legislation allows authorities to fine illegal pot sellers up to $20,000 a day and makes it easier to close them down. It also penalizes landlords who lease space to illegal operators.
What is the reason behind the crackdown on illegal marijuana stores in New York City?
The crackdown follows a slow and rocky rollout of New York’s legal cannabis program. Since the legalization of recreational marijuana sales under a strict licensing process, critics say only a handful of dispensaries have opened, while thousands of illegal shops continue to flout the law, causing legal growers to complain about mountains of aging marijuana crops.
Will legal marijuana growers be affected by the new legislation?
Legal marijuana growers will not be affected by the new legislation, which targets illegal pot sellers and landlords that facilitate illegal activity.
Will legal marijuana sellers have to pay taxes?
Yes, unlike illegal shops, legal marijuana sellers must pay taxes on their products.
What is the Hochul administration doing to help marijuana farmers?
The Hochul administration is allowing marijuana farmers and licensed retailers to sell weed at farmers’ markets, fairs, and possibly music festivals this summer to help move a backlog of marijuana crops and boost sales.
New York prepares to take action against illicit marijuana shops
Thousands of stores illegally selling marijuana in New York City may soon be facing massive fines and closures as state regulators plan to crack down on illicit weed operators and their landlords. According to The New York Post, the new law, recently approved by Governor Kathy Hochul and the state legislature, allows authorities to impose fines of up to $20,000 a day on illegal pot sellers and makes it easier to padlock them. John Kagia, the policy director for the state Office of Cannabis Management, stated that the coming weeks will see a “robust shift” in enforcement posture. “We have the ability to lock doors. We now have the authority to lock that building for a year so that you can’t have anyone operate at that location,” Kagia said.
Kagia also mentioned that “non-compliant” landlords who aid and abet illicit activity will also be in the crosshairs. Previously, the punishment for possessing more than three ounces or selling any of it was a mere $125 fine. The expected crackdown comes amid criticism of the slow and rocky rollout of New York’s legal cannabis program. Although lawmakers approved the sale of medical marijuana in 2014 and later gave the nod to cannabis sales for recreational use in 2021, only one shop was up and running at the start of this year, out of the projected 20 new legal dispensaries that Hochul predicted would open every month by the start of 2023.
A dozen more have since joined in, despite the issue of 215 cannabis licenses. This delay has thwarted the approximately 200 New York farmers who grew 300,000 pounds of cannabis, leaving them sitting on mountains of spoiled, aging marijuana crops. Meanwhile, an illegal black market has flourished. Mayor Eric Adams and City Sheriff Anthony Miranda said that at least 1,500 stores of unlicensed city merchants are selling cannabis, and many are avoiding taxes, putting them at a price disadvantage. Last November, a survey by The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association said that there are “likely tens of thousands of illicit cannabis businesses” operating in New York City.