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New York Cannabis Board Declares Marijuana Gifting Illegal

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Attorney Advises Businesses To Heed The Warnin

Some seven months after former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed recreational marijuana into law, New York cannabis regulators are still figuring out which rules and guidelines are needed to make this complex program function properly. (Article orginally appeared on Benzinga by Nina Zdinjak)

Just last week, the Cannabis Control Board proclaimed marijuana gifting to be illegal, writes WSKG. 

Tremaine Wright, former state Assemblymember who leads the regulatory body for the state’s cannabis industry addressed the increasingly popular cannabis gifting activity. 

“There is no gray market in New York state,” Wright said. “This conduct is not legal and must stop. Individuals who do not cease run the risk of severe financial penalties.”

Wright, however, failed to provide more details regarding the penalties though she explained that marijuana from unlicensed and unregulated sources is not tested or confirmed as safe. 

HempSol CBD Gets The Ball Rolling 

In September, the Rochester-based HempSol CBD hit the headlines for giving away an eighth of an ounce of cannabis with the purchase of a $65 T-shirt. At the time, the shop owner said the promotional “gift” was legal under the state’s adult-use cannabis law, which allows for adults to gift each other up to three ounces of marijuana. 

HempSol's idea seemed to have inspired others to do the same, with cannabis “gifting” becoming more common. Meanwhile, Jim Mackenzie, HempSol CBD owner, revealed he is looking for legal assistance and refused to comment on the situation. 

Consumer Safety As Top Priority 

Jason Klimek, who co-leads law firm Barclay Damon’s cannabis team said he had his doubts around the idea of promotional pot gifting for a while now. According to him, the new remarks from the head of the state’s Cannabis Control Board should be enough to clear up any confusion around what is legal and what is not. 

Klimek added that this should have been expected, considering that the state is obliged to put consumer safety first. He recalled the 2019 vaping crisis when 68 people died after using THC vape cartridges that contained vitamin E acetate.

The attorney added that now that the cannabis board has provided a clear stance, it is more likely that law enforcement will act upon cannabis gifting.

“Perhaps law enforcement is more likely to engage at this point, and if they were to do that, they would probably go after a sort of bigger operator to set an example,” Klimek said.

In the end, Klimek advised all businesses practicing promotional cannabis gifting to stop.


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