As New York prepares to regulate the potentially lucrative marijuana selling business closely, a pair of unlicensed Manhattan marijuana businesses are preparing for a cannabis war.
The state Office of Cannabis Management ordered the Empire Cannabis Clubs to stop dealing with their members, despite the fact that an attorney representing the businesses believed they were entirely compliant with the law.
“Do I anticipate going to war?” lawyer Steve Zissou inquired.
“Yes, I do.” And we’re prepared to battle. “
The letter was also issued to 65 other marijuana dispensaries around the state, including at least 14 in New York City.
It mentioned “so-called gifting,” in which consumers buy “a club membership and then receive cannabis as part of the sale.
However, that figure appears to be a drop in the bucket compared to the many openly operational weed-selling companies that have cropped up across the city and are out of shops and trucks.
Marijuana is sold in a gray market to customers who make “donations” to dealers or purchase memberships in enterprises such as the Empire Cannabis Club.
In March 2021, the state legalized marijuana. Sales are forbidden under the statute until the state develops restrictions.
According to long-time marijuana lawyer Stanley Cohen, the letters addressed to cannabis merchants suggest that gray market enterprises or those operating without an official state license may fight in court, but their days are numbered.
Failure to comply with the state’s requests could result in massive fines.
“It’s really the beginning of the end,” Cohen said.
“I don’t know what the defense is. There’s been very public and strict notice. “I assume they will lose in state court, in the appellate court, and they don’t have the standing to go into federal court because it’s a state issue,” Cohen added.