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State does have regulations for unlicensed cannabis sales

May 01, 2023 12:51 am

Joshua Solomon reports for the Times Union that while there have been few arrests of people selling cannabis illegally in the state, emergency regulations have been in place since last August giving law enforcement that authority. The state's Office of Cannabis Management has the power to "take action against unlicensed entities that are engaged in unlawful cannabis," according to the rules. But there have been few arrests, despite many reports of sales from unlicensed shops across New York. Gov. Kathy Hochul does not even seem to know the rules, as she said on April 27 that, "What we do not have is (the authority) for individuals from Office of Cannabis Management or from our state tax and finance office to go in and enforce the laws," and that state officials are, "not allowed to do searches because we only had civil penalties, not criminal penalties." Contrary to what the governor said, the cannabis office can refer investigations to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, district attorneys, or other enforcement agencies, and assess penalties, of $50 to $10,000. Even with the current rules in place, Hochul is proposing making unlicensed cannabis sales a misdemeanor offense. Last week two Queens store clerks were arrested for possession of cannabis and untaxed cigarettes, according to reporting in QNS.com, citing 63 violations and $45,000 in civil penalties. Few stores have been authorized to sell cannabis in the state, and none in the WGXC listening area, even though the drug was legalized in New York more than two years ago. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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