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Hochul pushes harsher penalties for illegal cannabis sales after state legalizes marijuana

Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed increased penalties for illegally selling cannabis, along with new enforcement powers for the state Office of Cannabis Management and the Department of Taxation and Finance.


The proposal is intended to address the problem of illegal dispensaries that continue to exist in the state. Lawmakers have been considering changes to the state’s cannabis program, including taxation and regulation, with possible changes expected in a state budget due on April 1.

The bill proposed by the governor would allow regulators and state tax officials to enforce illegal cannabis activity, with violators facing fines of up to $200,000 for illegal cannabis plants or products. Businesses caught selling cannabis without a license could be fined $10,000 a day.


Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes has also proposed changes to how cannabis is taxed in New York, with her proposal suggesting replacing the current tax based on potency with an increase in the current excise tax.

Cannabis regulators have announced that they will double the number of licenses allowed under the program to 300. Governor Hochul has said that the proposal will provide additional enforcement tools to protect New Yorkers from dangerous products and support equity initiatives while also helping legal dispensaries offer safer cannabis products to the public.



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