State says ‘no’ to gifting pot

State says ‘no’ to gifting pot

New York’s Office of Cannabis Management this week will send cease-and-desist letters to businesses in the state thought to be “gifting” marijuana as a means of skirting the prohibition against its unlicensed sale.

The OCM Enforcement Unit letter tells vendors that while the state’s 2021 Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act establishes parameters for regulated sale of cannabis, “The MRTA clearly states that any unlicensed sale of cannabis is illegal.”

“It has come to the attention of the Office of Cannabis Management that you are engaging in unlicensed cannabis sales, or that unlicensed sales are occurring on your property,” the bureau writes. “You are hereby directed to cease any, and all, illegal activity immediately. Failure to cease this activity puts your ability to obtain a license in the legal cannabis market at substantial risk.”

“The unlicensed sale of cannabis is illegal and subjects you to substantial fines and possible criminal penalties,” says the letter – which similarly threatens landlords housing such activity.

OCM says this: “Illegal sales include the sale of cannabis products in-person at a retail location, online, via delivery, or at an event; and include so-called “gifting” where consumers purchase non-cannabis items or services, such as a membership in a club, and are then provided with cannabis as a part of the sale.”

The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta reported in November 2021 that Otsego County Sherff’s Department confirmed its investigation of a local business for “gifting” marijuana but was uncertain of enforcement protocol.

The state’s Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management are currently drafting regulations that will allow for the licensed sale of cannabis products in New York State but, to date, neither licenses to sell nor other permissions available from other state agencies authorize the legal sale of cannabis in the state.

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