New York Cannabis Regulators To Crack Down On Illegal Shops

jars of cannabis Cannabis Regulators
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Cannabis regulators in New York are poised to begin enforcing new state laws aimed at shuttering hundreds of unlicensed shops selling black-market marijuana that undermines the state’s fledgling legal cannabis industry.

The state Office of Cannabis Management on Tuesday voted to approve emergency regulations that allow the agency to seize illicit cannabis-based drugs from the unlicensed shops and seek injunctions to close the operations.

How do the emergency regulations work?
The agency will also be allowed to issue higher civil and tax penalties for illicit cannabis sales under the new state laws, which Gov. Kathy Hochul and lawmakers approved earlier this year.

The effort comes as black-market marijuana has been linked to the shooting of a Rochester police officer, a deadly Yonkers apartment building fire and a 44% spike in cannabis-related emergency department visits in New York.

Lawsuit blocking Finger Lakes dispensaries near its end?
Meanwhile, the state cannabis regulators also reached an agreement that could end a federal lawsuit that had been temporarily blocking legal cannabis dispensaries from opening in the Finger Lakes, according to state Sen. Jeremy Cooney, D-Rochester.

The cannabis agency’s resolution approving the settlement with Variscite NY One was posted online Tuesday, and the agreement will now be considered by the court. The agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for further details about the settlement.

“Public safety cannot be achieved in our state until all New Yorkers — including those of us in the Finger Lakes Region — can walk into a legal dispensary and purchase cannabis products that have been tracked and tested,” Cooney, chair of the subcommittee on cannabis, said in a statement.

Previously, an appeals court ruling allowed legal marijuana shops to open in Brooklyn and the central New York, western New York, and mid-Hudson regions, all of which had faced similar temporary bans on dispensaries linked to the federal lawsuit.