Large fines loom for illegal Cannabis dispensaries in Cayuga County

Large fines loom for illegal Cannabis dispensaries in Cayuga County

New York State Pursues Enforcement Action Against Unlicensed Cannabis Dispensaries.

New York state's enforcement action against the I'm Stuck chain of unlicensed cannabis dispensaries, which included two locations in Cayuga County, continues to unfold in court.

After a Jan. 31 conference in Wayne County Supreme Court, I'm Stuck owner David Tulley was ordered to produce to the state Office of Cannabis Management all sales and bank records for his now-closed businesses by March 16. That information will be used to calculate fines for Tulley, according to court records. New legislation in May increased the fines for unlicensed cannabis sales to $10,000 per day, or $20,000 per day if an order to cease has been received, as well as five times the revenue of those sales or no more than three times the projected revenue of sales of seized inventory.

I'm Stuck opened at 9 E. Genesee St. in Auburn in January 2023, and I'm Stuck Presents the Weed Warehouse opened at 2020 Crane Brook Drive in the town of Aurelius the previous year. In late June they were raided by authorities, along with six other I'm Stuck locations in central New York, and ordered to cease sales. They were padlocked by the state in early August. Tulley could therefore face more than $2 million in fines for his Auburn location alone, and even more than that amount for his Aurelius one. He did not respond to a request for comment by The Citizen on Wednesday.

The fines are part of a new enforcement strategy that also includes partnerships with the Department of Labor and Workers Compensation Board, according to the Office of Cannabis Management.

"This approach, which combines the enforcement powers of labor law, tax law, and cannabis law, can result in non-compliant business owners potentially facing tens of thousands of dollars in penalties as the result of a single inspection and violations, significantly enhances the state’s ability to crack down on those who engage in illicit sales, and reaffirms (Gov. Kathy Hochul's) deep commitment to ensuring that the law is being followed and that New Yorkers are protected from potentially unsafe products," the Office of Cannabis Management said in a Feb. 5 news release.

Under the new legislation, similar fines can be imposed against the owners of properties where unlicensed dispensaries operate. However, Tulley's landlords were dismissed from the state's enforcement action in a Dec. 29 order. The same order gave police jurisdiction to remove any remaining cannabis sales items from the properties where Tulley operated, which the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office did on Jan. 24 in Auburn and Aurelius, Sheriff Brian Schenck told The Citizen. That month's wind storm also blew away the I'm Stuck billboard Tulley had been leasing above 9 E. Genesee St.

Meanwhile, Tulley is no longer represented by New York City cannabis attorney Joseph A. Bondy, who informed Wayne County Supreme Court on Jan. 8 that he has been relieved as counsel. Three days earlier, a burglary alarm at I'm Stuck at 20 Canal St. in the town of Lyons led Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputies to call Tulley, who told them he had removed items from the building days prior despite being prohibited from his businesses since they were padlocked. An "Office of Cannabis Management" sticker on a safe was ripped, deputies said, indicating the safe had been opened.

I'm Stuck sold "consultations" about cannabis products, technically making the products gifts. The chain's locations were the first "gray market" dispensaries shut down by the state as it launches the legal market promised by the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act of March 2021. The state celebrated the opening of its 50th dispensary, Brownies in the Albany County town of Colonie, on Tuesday.

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Region: New York

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