New York Lawmakers Debate Prioritizing Closure of Illicit Pot Shops Before Adding Licensed Ones

Following the legalization of cannabis for adult use in New York, challenges in licensing and regulatory delays have hindered the state’s legal marijuana industry’s growth. With numerous lawsuits and leadership changes, illicit pot shops have thrived, outnumbering legal dispensaries.

In Queens, Chairwoman Sherry Algredo of Community Board 9 advocates for shutting down illegal shops before permitting licensed ones. Despite her stance being advisory, it could influence policy decisions as applicants must engage with community boards.

Governor Kathy Hochul recently unveiled initiatives to combat illicit cannabis operations, aiming to protect legal market players. However, with an estimated 2,000 illegal shops in New York City alone, eradicating them remains a formidable task.

While the state has opened its 100th adult-use store and approved additional licenses, challenges persist. The new resolution granting provisional licenses aims to expedite operations, but closing illicit shops remains paramount to lawmakers like James McClelland, CB 9 District Manager.

As the state grapples with balancing legal market growth and tackling illicit operations, the debate over prioritizing the closure of illegal pot shops before adding licensed ones continues in New York’s cannabis landscape.


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