Stores that sell stickers and “gift” its customers with marijuana, also known as “sticker stores,” are operating through a loophole in New York State law. In response, law enforcement and local legislators met on Thursday to discuss ways to crack down on the increasing number of these illegal dispensaries.
According to New York State Senator Tom O’Mara, this loophole has allowed businesses to sell stickers and “gift” customers with marijuana without any criminal penalties. “We’ve heard from concerned people and law enforcement today, now with marijuana being legal — people are walking around the sidewalks smoking. Kids are seeing this, smelling it, it’s very distinct, and asking questions about what it is,” said Senator O’Mara.
Furthermore, Senator O’Mara highlighted the dangers of these unregulated dispensaries, pointing out that the edibles that these stores sell closely resemble actual candy brands, like Sour Patch Kids or Wonka candy. This leads to children being curious and wanting to try the candy that’s infused with THC. “We’re certainly seeing the negative consequences of the legalization of marijuana. Will they be greater than the consequences we have from alcohol and tobacco? That remains to be seen. But to do it unlawfully, and to avoid the taxing criteria for these – the state will lose out on whatever benefits it hopes to gain from recreational marijuana. It gives these stores when a legal store does come in about a 35% advantage over the licensed ones because the licensed ones will be paying taxes,” added O’Mara.
Currently, legislation is in the New York State Assembly and Senate that would outlaw sticker stores and punish those who violate the law. The legislation would need to be passed by leaders in Albany and signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul to take effect.
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