Cease and desist confusion with local businesses produces questions over cannabis management

ITHACA, NY—Since former Governor Andrew Cuomo legalized retail cannabis, New York State has spent the past 16 months making gradual, deliberate process on distributing licenses to sellers, which are now expected to be released in early 2023. In the meantime, certain sellers have seized the moment and opened their businesses anyway, much to the state’s chagrin.

This has led to some noise from the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, but the response has been inconsistent since sticker stores were first making headlines at the beginning of the year. Last week, thanks in part to some prodding by GothamistThe Office of Cannabis Management released the full slate of cease and desist letters that it had sent to businesses around New York State. The 66 letters include two in Tompkins County: Good Vibes Customs and LakeWatch Inn. But interestingly, both businesses say they haven ‘t heard anything from OCM, letter or otherwise, and the latter says they’ve never sold cannabis at all.

While they are both listed as having received a letter, and owners of both said they never received one, the two businesses find themselves in fairly different situations. Good Vibes Customs (sometimes known as Good Vibes Exotics) is, indeed, a sticker store, and maintains their belief that what they are doing is legal — “gifting” cannabis products to customers who “buy stickers,” essentially an attempted end-run around the current law. Store owner Iman McKay, who is also named as the owner of a Good Vibes Customs location in Elmira, acknowledged that they paused business around the time the City of Ithaca put out an announcement stating that sticker stores are illegal, but has continued since and still has never heard from OCM in any capacity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.