State Poised To Exponentially Expand Pot Operations

According to State of Politics, on October 4, 2023, the State of New York will start accepting applications for new types of marijuana licenses “that will allow cultivators to sell their own cannabis out of a farm stand or small retail venue.” The state’s Office of Cannabis Management—which, given its track record, ought to call itself the Office of Cannabis Mismanagement—anticipates granting nearly 1,500 new licenses beginning in early 2024.

To date, the state has granted a total of approximately 700 conditional licenses to various marijuana growers, processors, and retailers; however, due in part to lawsuits and in part to the state’s own stunning incompetence, a mere 23 marijuana stores have opened in New York. (This is one instance where the state’s ineptitude may actually be a blessing.)

One of the key claims made by the state in promoting the sale of state-licensed recreational marijuana is that such marijuana is safer than marijuana obtained through unlawful means. However, a recent report from Brad Racino at Syracuse.com provides evidence that state-licensed marijuana is not as safe as the state would have us believe it to be. A New Jersey cannabis testing company has found that state-licensed marijuana contains unacceptable levels of mold, bacteria, and yeast. Furthermore, state labs have reportedly failed to report pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants found in state-licensed marijuana. Sarah Ahrens of True Labs for Cannabis asserts that there is “‘a lack of proper regulations to ensure consumer safety, blatant violations of the current testing requirements, and a lack of enforcement to adhere to the current regulations.’”

Instead of issuing new marijuana licenses, perhaps the Office of Cannabis Management should clean up its act and make sure that state-licensed marijuana is adequately tested and regulated. Better yet, the state could simply acknowledge its recreational marijuana law for the mess that is and reverse course.

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