There has been a lot of discussion around New York’s new legislation that grants enforcement powers to the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) against illicit retail dispensaries. The OCM’s first enforcement hearing, described in an article by Brad Racino of NY Cannabis Insider, sheds light on some early missteps.
The background of the case involves Roll Up Nation, one of the 31 allegedly illicit dispensaries that received a notice of violation during the OCM’s initial series of raids in early June. Racino’s article provides a thorough account of the hearing and the participants involved.
However, what caught our attention were the mentions of “sloppy paperwork” errors committed by the OCM. The article highlights instances where the Notice of Violation included the wrong address for the business and the inspection report named the wrong business altogether.
While these may seem like minor discrepancies, administrative dismissals of violations based on procedural errors are not uncommon. Given the importance of effective enforcement for New York’s legal adult-use cannabis industry, these errors raise concerns.
We have emphasized the significance of shutting down illicit cannabis operators in New York. If legal operators are forced to compete with illicit ones that disregard the OCM’s rules and regulations, they will struggle to survive. Immediate and robust enforcement against illicit operators is crucial for the success of New York’s cannabis industry in the coming months.
The OCM now possesses the power to take action against illicit operators. However, it must exercise this power effectively and with credibility to effectively police the state’s cannabis industry. The sloppy paperwork detailed in Racino’s article erodes confidence in the OCM’s operations, contributing to the crisis of confidence observed in the rollout of Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licenses and the upcoming release of full adult-use cannabis license applications.
That being said, it is worth noting that this was the first enforcement hearing. Hopefully, as the OCM begins to utilize its new enforcement powers, its policies and procedures will be tightened. We will be closely following these developments!