Illegal Cannabis Stores

I am pretty sure there might be as many illegal cannabis stores as there are delis in New York City. It is crazy. It has become a free for all.

In the beginning, when NY State legalized cannabis, I would guess that many stores did not realize that they still needed a license to sell weed. Now, they can’t plead stupidity because of the daily information on the front page. There will be lawsuits, but the bottom line, you need a license just like a liquor permit. There are highly regulated products, as they should be.

There have been products found with e-Coli and salmonella being sold in random stores from bodegas to Weed World. Who knows where these products are coming from? That is not true in the licensed arena.

Granted, the licensed dispensaries have yet to open in NY, but they are coming. The Office of Cannabis Management wants to see them all open yesterday, but these things take time post-getting the license. At this point, I am still waiting for a bank account.

There will be PSAs made around this topic, pushing the much-wanted narrative from the state, and license holders, do not buy from stores operating without a license. This is a matter of taxes, safety, and supporting the license holders. But this is not the answer.

This week I read that State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has introduced legislation that would fine non-licensed stores $2500 for the first violation, $5000 for the second, and potential seizure on the third. Currently, the fine is $250.

$250?? I thought I read it was $200K, which is still not enough. Doesn’t the Government realize how much money these stores are making? $5k is a drop in the bucket. The city and state must start going after the landlord instituting huge fines that create only one change, booting out the tenant or closing the illegal sales immediately. Take those fines and put them into the $200M fund that NY State has not been able to raise to help the license holders of previously incarcerated people get low-interest loans to fund their businesses.

The ability to do this right is sliding through the government’s fingertips with the illegal dispensaries cropping up in the city daily. Enough already.