Governor Hochul’s Task Force Nips 100+ Illegal Cannabis Shops in the Bud

Try and walk into an unlicensed dispensary or smoke shop this week and you’ll likely be turned away empty handed. That’s because, store owners are in high alert as raids and shut downs are (finally) going into effect, for now at least. Governor Kathy Hochul’s Cannabis Enforcement Task Force is going full steam ahead, shutting down “illegal” pot shops left, right, and center.

“The New York State Cannabis Enforcement Task Force has been making headlines for its recent crackdown on ‘illegal’ cannabis storefronts,” Governor Hochul announced in a press release last week. “In order to advance that goal, we promised to expedite the closure of unlicensed cannabis storefronts, and I’m here today to say: we’re getting it done.”

But let’s keep it real: while legal cannabis sales are soaring like a kite on a breezy day, not everyone’s cheering. “The slow rollout of legal retail licenses has been a saga of several lawsuits slowing it down,” Hochul admitted, “allowing large MSO’s earlier-than-expected entry into the market, which in turn left many smaller cannabis companies struggling with products not being able to sell.”

The Cannabis Enforcement Task Force, a collaboration between the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), State Police, and other state agencies, has been on a mission to shut down these “illegal” dispensaries. “In just three weeks since its launch on May 21st of this year,” Hochul proudly declared, “the task force has shut down 114 unlicensed stores and seized over $29 million worth of illegal products.”

But hang on—aren’t these “illegal” shops just small businesses trying to make a buck? “For too long, illegal cannabis shops have contributed to a feeling that anything goes on our streets, but not anymore,” echoed New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Our work will protect children, keep our streets safe, and contribute to the thriving legal market that New York deserves.”

Meanwhile, Senate Bill S9679 is supposed to help struggling small cannabis companies with the slow retail license rollout. “By allowing direct sales and fostering consumer education,” Hochul noted, “the CGS program has provided a much-needed lifeline to cultivators struggling to get their products onto retail shelves.”

So, as New York marches toward a green, regulated future, let’s not forget the little guys caught in the crossfire. Whether you’re blazing legally or still chilling underground, the state’s crackdown might just be extinguishing more than illegal smoke—it could be snuffing out dreams of small business owners trying to find their place in the green rush.

Beard Bros Pharms. (2024, June 25). New York Cannabis Enforcement Task Force shuts down over 100 illegal cannabis stores says Governor Hochul – BEARD BROS PHARMS. BEARD BROS PHARMS.

End of: Governor Hochul’s Task Force Nips 100+ Illegal Cannabis Shops in the Bud