NYC legal cannabis industry pleading for help from state

NYC legal cannabis industry pleading for help from state
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NEW YORK (PIX11) — The legal and licensed cannabis industry is pleading with state leaders to address the proliferation of brazenly illegal pot shops, which often operate openly across the city.

In a letter to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democratic leadership in the Assembly and State Senate, the more than 100 signatures demand that crackdown policies be included in the state budget, which is due April 1.

Marijuana legalization in NY, NJ

Many of the requests are in line with what Mayor Eric Adams has been requesting for a while.

Here are the requests:

  • Grant local authorities the power to inspect and shutdown illegal cannabis shops — currently, only state authorities have this power

  • Establish penalties for operating or facilitating unlicensed cannabis businesses

  • Improve coordination between state and local agencies to ensure enforcement efforts are comprehensive, consistent, and effective.

  • Implement measures that support licensed dispensaries, such as public education campaigns about the risks of purchasing from unlicensed sources and the benefits of supporting legal, regulated businesses.

  • Continue to refine and expedite the licensing process for legal dispensaries to ensure that the market can meet consumer demand without incentivizing illegal sales.

One of the main voices behind the letter is Osbert Orduna, owner of The Cannabis Place in Middle Village Queens.

“Right here on our block of Metropolitan Avenue, have six unlicensed operators,” he said.

PIX11 has highlighted the brazen and illegal consequences of unlicensed pot shops, particularly in recent weeks.

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There have been instances of shops reopening after being shut down by local authorities and one case of deadly fentanyl being found.

“We are calling on the legislature to act now,” Orduna said.

Hochul has been supportive of this approach, saying at a press conference two weeks ago:

“Let’s start doing that. Let’s have some teeth,” she said.

In a statement Thursday, a spokesman for the Democratic Majority in the Senate said:

“We included increased enforcement and the ability to crack down on these illegal stores in our one-house budget and hope to see it included in the final budget.”

“New Yorkers should be able to walk down the street without being bombarded by dozens of illegal smokeshops that are operating outside the law and putting young New Yorkers at risk,” said a spokeswoman for the Adams Administration.

Read the letter here:


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