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NY Takes More Steps to Shutdown Illicit Cannabis Stores


The State has announced additional steps forward in shutting down the illegal cannabis market. Unlicensed cannabis businesses have continued to open and operate throughout the state, often selling untested products and creating nuisances in communities. The state claims these storefronts have stymied the growth of New York’s legal industry and the retailers operating therein.

“New York must take action to close illicit cannabis storefronts continuing to open and operate across the State,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Strengthening New York’s equitable cannabis industry and protecting the hard-working small business owners operating in the legal market are top priorities, and the best way to accomplish those goals is by expediting the shutdown of unlicensed shops.”

Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget includes a plan to broaden the authority of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and local government agencies to padlock stores selling cannabis without a license. This proposal will strengthen enforcement authority, expedite the closure of unlicensed shops, and deter illicit activity. The plan:

  • Expands the powers of OCM to streamline the padlocking of illicit shops. 
  • Authorizes local government to execute OCM padlock orders to ensure swift action to close unlicensed dispensaries. 
  • Establishes local registries of licensed cannabis businesses to assist and empower local governments, including New York City, to padlock unlicensed businesses through their own laws and resources. 

Governor Hochul was joined on Wednesday by several members of the State’s CAURD program who expressed the urgent need to shut down illegal cannabis operators. CAURD licensees were the first retail dispensaries to open for legal adult-use cannabis sales in New York State, establishing businesses owned by justice-involved individuals as the bedrock of New York’s adult-use cannabis market.

In addition, social media and big tech companies have aided in the promotion of unlicensed stores and have knowingly allowed illegal storefronts to advertise online, undermining New York’s efforts to build a safe and equitable cannabis industry. As part of her announcement, Governor Hochul is calling on tech companies to prohibit the promotion of unlicensed storefronts selling potentially dangerous products on their platforms.

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