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O’Mara and Palmesano: Crack down on illegal cannabis “sticker stores”

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Southern Tier NY State Senators sponsor legislation to end “gifting” cannabis loophole

By Andrew Harris

From the second former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marihuana Taxation and Regulation Act(MRTA,) cannabis entreprenuers identified and exploited a gap in the law. The new law created a big gray area during the waiting period between passing the MRTA and implementing it.

That gray area has allowed “sticker stores,” to operate all over the state with relative impunity. These stores, not yet able to legally sell cannabis, work around the law by selling gift items which come with “free” cannabis products. A customer buys a sticker and depending on the price paid, recieves a quantity of cannabis product. It is an all-cash, no tax operation that law enforcement has been largely unable to confront.

State Senators Tom O’Mara and Phil Palmesano have railed against the gray market activity and have presented legislation in the NYS Senate to put an end to it.

That legislation is below in its entirety and contains some interesting language. This updated version of the proposed law will charge anyone associated with an illegal cannabis dispensary with civil penalties. Any of those store owners or employees will also be banished from participating in the legal cannabis industry.

Civil penalities for illegal start at $10,000 for the first offense and $50,000 for repeat offenders.

The Steuben County Legislature addressed the measure today in Bath and voted in support of O’Mara and Palmesano legislation. It isn’t clear if the proposed legislation will be voted on in the full NYS Senate, or how much statewide support the bill has. Currently the bill is committee and hasn’t moved onto the schedule for the Senate floor.

Here is the full bill:

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