Turning the Corner: Gov. Hochul’s plan to shut down illegal cannabis sales on Long Island

Turning the Corner: Gov. Hochul’s plan to shut down illegal cannabis sales on Long Island

By Gahrey Ovalle

In the fight against illicit cannabis sales, Governor Hochul’s recent budget plan marks a significant step forward for communities across New York, including here on Long Island. As President & Co-Founder of the Long Island Cannabis Coalition (LICC), I commend this crucial move towards ensuring a safer and more responsible cannabis industry.

At LICC, our mission is clear: to advocate for the growth of a responsible cannabis industry throughout Long Island by connecting local communities and municipal leadership, while creating awareness through continuous educational endeavors. Our membership, consisting of licensed operators and cannabis business professionals, is committed to creating a unified industry that benefits both consumers and the communities we serve.

Long Island is no stranger to the cannabis community, boasting one of the most concentrated cannabis communities in the U.S. for medical and recreational use. LICC provides a platform for consumers, decision-makers, and community stakeholders to understand the role of cannabis as plant medicine and a powerful enterprise.

Governor Hochul’s decision to empower the Office of Cannabis Management to padlock illicit businesses for a full year, alongside allowing local governments to enforce padlock orders, sends a clear message: illegal cannabis operations will not be tolerated. Additionally, establishing fines for landlords who knowingly rent to unlicensed cannabis retailers further strengthens our efforts to combat illicit sales.

Throughout New York and especially on Long Island, we appreciate the governor’s commitment to take action against unlicensed operators. The steps taken today will help reign in the illicit market that has thrived until now. Illegal cannabis stores are unregulated, unsafe, and directly interfere with the success of legal cannabis dispensaries. Having the OCM work with local governments to shut down these shops is common sense legislation that is long overdue.

As we move forward, we know there is more work to be done and the LICC remains committed to working with Governor Hochul and other officials to ensure that Long Island’s cannabis industry continues to grow responsibly and sustainably. Together, we can create a safer, more vibrant community.

Gahrey Ovalle, Long Island Cannabis Coalition President & Co-Founder


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