By Therin Miller | Chronic Magazine
NEW YORK - New York City has recently cracked down on unlicensed cannabis dispensaries and pop-up smoke shops that are selling illegal products. In an effort to protect public health, the state of New York has established a two-week pilot program in collaboration with several city agencies to inspect and seize over $4 million worth of illegal cannabis products from 53 locations across the city.
"You tell me, can you tell the difference between what is legal and what is illegal?" Mayor Adams asked holding two virtually identical, brightly colored snack bags. "It is extremely difficult to do it."
One bag contained cannabis edibles, while the other was a standard packet of gummy candies.
"This is what we are finding in our stores across the city that are popping up," Adams said. "Many of these stores are unsafe and are targeting our kids."
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a plan to help consumers easily identify state-regulated dispensaries so that they know which places are safe to purchase cannabis products from.
To help consumers easily identify state-regulated dispensaries, the New York Governor has launched a dispensary verification tool with a QR code that will be prominently displayed in legally licensed retail dispensaries and products. The state also plans to launch a public education campaign at the beginning of 2023 to encourage people to purchase legal cannabis regulated by the state. With these tools, the state of New York is determined to create an equitable cannabis market and protect public health.
"We will use every tool available to strengthen the equitable, legal adult-use cannabis market we're building and the dispensary verification tool Governor Hochul unveiled today is one step in that process," Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management Chris Alexander said. "Our enforcement team has been growing its partnerships and ramping up activity from Buffalo to New York City and will continue to do so until these illicit stores and trucks are shut down."
There will also be a universal symbol on products sold to show they meet standards set up by the state.
"These tools will help to protect public health and strengthen our ability to deliver the equitable cannabis market our law envisions," Hochul said. "We will continue to work with our partners in municipalities across the state to enforce the law and shut down illicit operators who are selling products that put New Yorkers at risk."
Mayor Adams states that he stands with the citizens of New York City in creating a safe and regulated cannabis market that protects the public's health while providing consumers with legal access to quality products. By working together, we can ensure that New York City remains safe and free from illegal cannabis dispensaries.