New York State has outlined a new plan for a major crackdown on illicit cannabis shops. Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, that she signed legislation to raise the civil and tax penalties for illegal marijuana sales as a part of the FY 2024 Budget.

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New Legislation Uses Fines, Seizures, And Taxation To Stop Illegal Marijuana Sales In New York State

The legislation increases civil and tax penalties for the unlicensed and illicit sale of cannabis in New York. It gives additional enforcement power to the Office of Cannabis Management and the Department of Taxation and Finance to use new regulatory requirements to close down stores selling cannabis illegally. Gov. Hochul said,

As New York State continues to roll out a nation-leading model to establish its cannabis industry, these critical enforcement measures will protect New Yorkers from illicit, unregulated sales. Unlicensed dispensaries violate our laws, put public health at risk, and undermine the legal cannabis market. With these enforcement tools, we're paving the way for safer products, reinvestment in communities that endured years of disproportionate enforcement, and greater opportunities for New Yorkers.

With the new enforcement powers provided by the legislation, the Office of Cannabis Management and the Department of Taxation and Finance will be able to stop the sale and gifting of marijuana by unlicensed stores and trucks across New York State. The Office of Cannabis Management can assess civil penalties of up to $20,000 a day. The legislation also criminalizes the sale of cannabis and cannabis products without a proper license.

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In addition to being able to conduct regulatory inspections, the Office of Cannabis Management will have the authority to seize untested cannabis and cannabis products from unlicensed businesses. The office will use court orders, closing orders, and the removal of commercial tenants to stop shops that are selling cannabis and cannabis products without an appropriate license.

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