The state of New York has legalized recreational marijuana use for adults aged 21 and older back in March this year. However, cannabis sales distribution and have not yet been set up. As such, the Cannabis Control Board announced last week that providing marijuana samples in exchange for other goods is against the law.
According to WSKG, the practice in question was addressed by the Cannabis Board during a meeting the previous week. Chairman of the commission Tremaine Wright said that “There is no gray market in New York State. This conduct is not legal and must stop. Individuals who do not cease run the risk of severe financial penalties.”
The ruling from the Cannabis Control Board comes a month after CITY published an article that focused on individuals purchasing overpriced goods that came with “free” cannabis. Based on the CITY article, the shop owner of HempSol CBD said that the free marijuana was deemed legal under the recreational cannabis law.
Following the statement released by the Cannabis Control Board, HempSol CBD owner Jim Mackenzie revealed that he is seeking help from a lawyer. WKSG also reports Mackenzie declining to comment on the issue at hand
As of writing, the law now recognizes the capacity of adults to possess less than three ounces of marijuana without being penalized.
Barclay Damon’s lawyer Jason Klimek from the cannabis team also echoed the same sentiments as Tremaine Wright, saying that they have been uncertain about the prevalence of the gifting culture surrounding the cannabis industry.
In a statement, Klimek said that there were various points of concern over the unregulated cannabis industry, particularly with the prevalence of marijuana cartridges being smoked by users. Around 2,800 individuals were hospitalized due to the vitamin E acetate content in these cartridges, while 68 died in 2019 alone.
Klimek remarked, “It was fairly predictable that this would be the outcome. Paramount is consumer safety, and their chair emphasized that. It was very good for them to say that, because there has been a huge question about this, we get calls almost daily.”
While there has been support for New York’s initiative of stopping the marijuana gifting culture, there have been challenges in addressing the problem. One such area where this problem persists is in Chemung County, where WKSG states the district attorney’s office has been on the fence on whether or not to continue with the raid on a cannabis-gifting company in Elmira city.
The executive assistant district attorney Susan Rider-Ulacco said to WKSG on Monday, October 25, 2021, that they have long been trying to reach out to the Cannabis Board, but have yet to hear back from the agency saying, “We’ve been trying to get a hold of that state board, and good luck.”
Rider-Ulacco also remarked that they have no guidance on possible actions they could take and emphasized the importance of guidance and regulations in the everchanging cannabis landscape, saying “We just want to make sure we are doing the right thing.”
Now that the Cannabis Control Board of New York has deemed gifting marijuana illegal, Klimek said that he expects the state to conduct a crackdown on illegal activities, notes WSKG.