Cease and desist confusion with local businesses raises questions about cannabis management

ITHACA, NY—Since former Governor Andrew Cuomo legalized retail cannabis, New York State has spent the past 16 months making a gradual and deliberate process of handing out licenses to vendors, which are now expected to go out in early 2023. Meanwhile, some vendors have seized the moment and opened their businesses anyway, much to the anger of the state.

This has led to an outcry from the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, but the response has been inconsistent since sticker shops were in the news earlier this year. Last week, thanks in part to some prompting Gothamist, the Office of Cannabis Management released the full slate of cease and desist letters it has sent to businesses around New York State. The 66 cards 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 haven’t sold any cannabis at all.

While they are both listed as having received a letter and the owners of both said they never received one, the two businesses find themselves in very different situations. Good Vibes Customs (sometimes known as Good Vibes Exotics) is, in fact, a sticker shop and maintains that what they are doing is legal – “giving away” cannabis products to customers who “buy stickers” , essentially an attempt at end use. about the current law. Store owner Iman McKay, who is also listed as the owner of a Good Vibes Customs location in Elmira, acknowledged that they stopped business around the time the City of Ithaca issued a notice stating that sticker shops are illegal, but it has continued since and still have never heard from OCM in any capacity.

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