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“Gifting” cannabis is not legal, state agency ends ambiguity over loophole

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The Office of Cannabis Management has informed all known actors to ‘cease and desist’ or face consequences

By Andrew Harris

Since New York passed a law legalizing cannabis, some entrepreneurs in the budding industry have used a legal loophole to start conducting business. The practice of “gifting” cannabis has been prevalent across the state, with some full fledged dispensaries like the BMillz chain of “specialty gift stores.” The BMillz operation has multiple stores in Elmira, Nichols, Conklin, one in Waverly, and one in Owego.

The loophole works very simple: Stores like BMillz sell a gift, typically stickers or another inconsequential item. The gift can be purchased for a corresponding quantity and variety of cannabis. A customer order would sound something like this:

“I’ll take one of the $70 stickers in ‘Gorilla Glue’, and one of the $120 stickers in ‘Blue Dream.”

The budtender carefully wraps up your purchase and the customer is on their way to a happy day. Maybe more happy because they didn’t pay tax on the purchase and the whole process still has a slight bootleg effect. It’s still that vague feeling of stealing a cookie from the jar.

One problem with that, and noted by the Office of Cannabis Management, is the products have no quality control. Part of the legal marketplace being created in NY, is a product testing protocol to ensure customers are not buying contaminated or unsafe product. Because it is not yet legal to cultivate cannabis for the adult-use market, the source of the product being “gifted,” remains unknown or murky. Most observers speculate that the cannabis being sold is coming from other states who already have legal markets.

We asked the folks at Mile High Accessories of Waverly if they had received the cease and desist order and if it was business as usual today:

“We are not aloud to disclose any info sorry….yes sir we have stickers, and accessories ;}”

Office of Cannabis Management officials warned in the letters sent to the unlicensed operators that a failure to comply with the cease and desist order will have consequences. Those engaging in the illegal sales will be excluded from future licensing and may face serious penalties, even criminal charges.

WENY recently did an interview with BMillz about the crackdown:

https://www.weny.com/story/45834077/local-sticker-for-pot-gifting-business-reacts-to-nys-cannabis-board-crackdown-letter

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