ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Retail cannabis stores are opening across the state. And while licenses continue in the process of being distributed, some state lawmakers are concerned about other marijuana operations known as “sticker stores,” where retailers sell items like stickers at a high price and “gift” marijuana products with the purchase.
Assembly Member Phil Palmesano (R-Corning) said there is more the state could be doing to combat this issue.
“We need to go in and shut them down. I mean if you were selling liquor out of your business, and you didn’t have a liquor license they’d come in and shut you down immediately and fine you substantially. That’s what we need to be doing with these illegal sticker stores,” Palmesano said.
The Senate and Assembly introduced legislation this session that would penalize these types of stores. And just a few days ago, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed legislation to increase civil and tax penalties and strengthen enforcement efforts toward sticker shops.
But some lawmakers said Hochul’s proposals don’t go far enough.
“There’s just gonna be a slap on the wrist to these businesses who are making boatloads of cash, we’ve seen it in the stores,” said Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats).
The New York State Office of Cannabis Management is currently working alongside law enforcement to manage these types of operations. They are seizing unlicensed products and sending cease and desist letters to stores without licenses.
“We must make sure that the unlicensed operators taking place do not usurp the economic opportunity, do not confuse the public as to where is a safe space to consume and purchase cannabis, where is not,” said Trivette Knowles, a spokesperson for the New York State Office of Cannabis Management.
Knowles added the Office of Cannabis Management’s efforts to combat unlicensed operations is also a step to ensure they adhere to their equity goals.