Unlicensed marijuana stores file lawsuit against New York City

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A group of unlicensed dispensary operators in New York filed a class action lawsuit against the city, claiming the ongoing closures of their businesses are unconstitutional.

Dozens of business have joined the lawsuit in response to a citywide crackdown on rampant illicit cannabis sales, according to Gothamist.

The ramped up enforcement followed state lawmakers granting new powers to local officials, allowing them to clamp down on hundreds of illicit operators, primarily in New York City.

Their new authorities include:

  • Padlocking businesses immediately after an inspection if they are selling illicit cannabis and pose an imminent threat to health and safety.
  • Fining landlords who fail to initiate eviction proceedings against unlicensed storefronts $50,000 within New York City or five times the rent outside the city.
  • Allowing municipalities to enact laws and emergency actions regulating unlicensed cannabis businesses.

The mayor’s office said “Operation Padlock to Protect” closed more than 300 stores suspected of selling unregulated cannabis between May 7 and June 3, The New York Times reported.

In response to the state’s shaky rollout, Gov. Kathy Hochul is continuing her leadership shakeup at the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), the state’s chief marijuana regulator.