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New York Raids Unlicensed Cannabis Club, Court Battles Expected

Empire Cannabis Club claims they do not need a license for their locations.




Multiple locations of Empire Cannabis Club, a popular cannabis dispensary in New York, were raided by law enforcement agencies Tuesday as part of the state’s crackdown on unlicensed shops.

The club is of the opinion that they do not need a license to sell cannabis because  it’s a “concierge service” that allows paying members to access its products and special events.

The Lower East Side and Chelsea branches were searched by NYPD officers and state tax department members, resulting in the seizure of some inventory, reports the NY Times.

However, Empire’s attorney, Steve Zissou, said operations will return to “business as usual” tomorrow; and the company will now file suit over the state’s approach to cannabis enforcement.

The state’s objective is to combat the proliferation of unlicensed cannabis dispensaries that have emerged since recreational marijuana sales were officially legalized in 2021. In fact, the number of illegal dispensaries surpasses that of licensed ones by a large margin. As of this week there are only 19 licensed dispensaries in the entire state.

In May, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation that increased penalties for unlicensed dispensaries and granted more authority to the Office of Cannabis Management and the Department of Taxation and Finance to conduct inspections. The new laws empower dispensaries to face fines of up to $20,000 per day for severe infractions, while the OCM can now pursue court orders and closures against unlicensed sellers.





Cannaconvo with Peter Su of Green Check Verified

Cannabis Last Week with Jon Purow interviews Peter Su of Green Check Verified. Peter Su is a Senior Vice President with Green Check Verified, the top cannabis banking compliance software/consultancy in the space. A 20+ year veteran of the banking industry, Peter serves on the Banking & Financial Services committee of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He chairs the Banking and Financial Services Committee for the NYCCIA & HVCIA. He is an official member of the Rolling Stone Cannabis Culture Council. And, he is on the board of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable, serving as treasurer.

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