ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) – You’ve seen or maybe have even heard of shops that sell stickers and gift you marijuana as a thank you for shopping at their store.
These types of businesses have been popping up throughout the region. Well, New York State’s Cannabis Control Board is cracking down on them and one local business owner is reacting to this new enforcement.
The New York State Office of Cannabis Management a letter out today to businesses and certain people all over the empire state.
The letter was aimed at people suspected of selling marijuana or gifting it. The letter goes on to say if you don’t stop you will face the consequences.
Bartholomew Miller is the co-owner of B.Millz in Elmira. At his store and stores like his all over the state and the country, people can walk in buy a sticker, and be gifted marijuana.
“Well they receive a sticker and free gift of marijuana complimentary of B. Millz,” Miller said.
The process takes advantage of a legal loophole in New York state law. For B Millz business has been growing and now has 10 locations and over 70 employees. The state is trying to crack down on the marijuana gifting businesses.
In a recently distributed letter, the state cannabis control board threatens gift shops with legal action if they don’t stop. The board says the process of gifting marijuana is against the law. Miller says he hasn’t received the letter yet.
“I’d like to know what the cease and desist is and how long do they give us to do so, Miller said.
However, he says he is not surprised by the new state enforcement action. He figured it wouldn’t be long before the state started cracking down on gifting businesses. He explains he is anxious to receive and review the letter, but until then it’s business as usual.
“We totally expected this though to come forth. It’s not something we weren’t aware of or not prepared for.-B Millz is always ready to conform and comply,” Miller said.
He does have a plan in place if and when he does receive a letter from the state but says he’ll reserve comment until that time comes.
“Ahh man, that’s like asking a magician to get into his bag of tricks.
In the meanwhile, he is ready to take on the consequences that may come along with operating his business.
“What is the charge, yeah to answer your question yeah we’re prepared we already questioned that for the people that work for us and depend on us. Yeah, we are the backbone we’re prepared. We aren’t looking for trouble by no means we are not looking for consequences or want to deal with any of that so conform and comply is our motto,” Miller said.
As far as applying for a license, he says it’s a gray area and explains he doesn’t have the funds for the cost of a license.
“You know I love gray areas. but I don’t have a quarter of a million dollars to drop, where they are going to judge my whole life and everyone that I know and tell me no! Then they keep some of your money. That might be okay with the big dog that’s why they can play that game, and that’s how they exile the little guys like us,” Miller said.
See letter here:
Office of Cannabis Management Announces Enforcement Action
Cease and Desist Letters Sent to Suspected Violators Making Clear Cannabis Sales, Including “Gifting,” Are Only Allowed by Licensed Dispensaries
Illicit Sales Must Stop Immediately or Risk Losing Their Ability to Get a License in the Legal Industry
The New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) today sent letters ordering businesses suspected of illegally selling cannabis, including the practice of “gifting,” to cease and desist those operations or risk the opportunity to get a license in the legal market as well as substantial fines and possible criminal penalties. The letters explain that while cannabis has been legalized for those aged 21 and over, selling it requires a license under the law.
Recent media reports have described business operators selling a product or service, including club memberships, to consumers and providing cannabis as a “gift” in return. This activity is illegal under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). Through an initial investigation, the OCM has identified over two dozen alleged violators and sent letters to each educating them on the law and directing them to stop their illegal activity immediately.
“We have an obligation to protect New Yorkers from known risks and to strengthen the foundation of the legal, regulated market we are building. We will meet the goals of the MRTA to build an inclusive, equitable and safe industry,” said Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright. “Therefore, these violators must stop their activity immediately, or face the consequences.”
“We want to make sure these operators fully understand the law and the consequences they face and now that these letters have been sent, we fully expect them to cease and desist their activities – if they don’t, we will take action,” said OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander. “New York State is building a legal, regulated cannabis market that will ensure products are tested and safe for consumers while providing opportunities for those from communities most impacted by the over criminalization of the cannabis prohibition, and illegal operations undermine our ability to do that. We encourage New Yorkers to not partake in illicit sales where products may not be safe and we will continue to work to ensure that New Yorkers have a pathway to sell legally in the new industry.”
No adult-use licenses have been issued in New York State to date. The only legal means of procuring, safe, tested cannabis products is through the Medical Cannabis Program, where becoming a patient requires getting certified from a medical provider.