Pot Proprietors Circumvent State Law With Premature Cannabis Sales

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management recently issued a warning to shop owners who—in an effort to circumvent state law—have been giving away marijuana to customers.

So-called “pot stickers” are one example of this phenomenon. According to WENY News, some New York merchants have been selling stickers, memberships, or other goods and services to customers and then giving those customers free marijuana as a thank-you gift. In reality, the marijuana is the item being purchased.

These so-called “gifts” of marijuana are being given as a way of getting around the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which became law last year. The MRTA allows for the retail sale of recreational marijuana; however, the state has not yet finished creating the licensing process. As a result, no one has yet received a license to sell marijuana in New York. Some overeager merchants have been jumping the gun by selling “pot stickers” and other similar goods.

The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has sent cease-and-desist letters to more than 24 businesses that it believes have engaged in illegal recreational marijuana sales. In those letters, the OCM has warned merchants that engaging in such activities—including the giving of so-called “gifts” of marijuana—could lead to criminal penalties, fines, and the rejection of merchants’ future marijuana license applications.

While New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to see the State of New York upholding the rule of law, we remain opposed to the sale of recreational marijuana—regardless of whether such sales are legal or illegal. We continue to call on our government to reverse course and abandon its efforts to create a legal market for the sale of marijuana in the Empire State.