‘Wild West’ Hits New York City: Unregulated Cannabis Dispensaries Are Booming

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New York state has been in a strange state of legal limbo since cannabis was legalized there last spring. Criminal penalties for simple possession have been lifted, and those for home cultivation within permitted limits are set to be removed by the end of summer 2022. But as of yet, there is no regulatory structure in place for licensing and oversight of a commercial sector and unregulated cannabis sales are booming. Tremaine Wright, chair of the state’s newly formed Cannabis Control Board last week told local news site Gothamist that the regulations would be issued “this winter or early spring.”   Some, however, have not been waiting. Last summer, New York City witnessed an explosion in cottage-industry (or perhaps apartment-industry) mini-businesses—with bud, edibles and other cannabis products being hawked from tables set up in parks and sidewalks. Many of these were actual licensed businesses, but not licensed cannabis businesses, because no such licenses exist yet. Generally, these outfits avoided calling monetary transactions “sales,” saying the cannabis product was being offered in exchange for a “donation,” or as a “promotion” for purchase of other (very overpriced) merchandise.  Now, with the cold weather, actual storefront establishments on this unregulated cannabis model have started to emerge in the city. A burgeoning chain of such establishments has opened shops in two Manhattan neighborhoods.  An Unregulated Cannabis Chain?  This enterprise, dubbed Empire Cannabis, opened its first outlet on Eight Ave. and 17th Street in Chelsea in October, and just added a second location, at 172 Allen Street on the Lower East Side, this month. There is absolutely no sense whatsoever of flying below the radar. At the Lower East Side location, the staff wear matching T-shirts emblazoned with the name and cannabis-leaf logo of the business. Glass cases display high-quality bud identified by strain, and a wide array of edible products and cartridges, marked…

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Source : ‘Wild West’ Hits New York City: Unregulated Cannabis Dispensaries Are Booming

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