Ok New York, where’s my guidance?
Updated: Mar 10, 2022
Local towns and municipalities across the state are wondering, what do I do to protect my community? Cannabis access and use has exploded since New York State passed the MRTA (Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act) on March 31st 2021. As we approach the 1 year anniversary, little or no guidance has been provided by the OCM (Office of Cannabis Management) who are charged with the roll out of legal adult use. There’s so many concerns lingering in the minds of our leaders. With election cycles always right around the corner, representatives want to do whatever they can to keep control over the booming market. Right now, gray market cannabis is ruling the streets with absolutely no oversight and, seemingly, no consequences for what they’re doing. “Sticker shops” where businesses sell a customer a sticker for a large amount of money and then “gift” the person cannabis, have begun popping up in just about every town. Clearly everyone knows what is happening in there, unregulated cannabis sales directly from someone's trunk right on to the shelf for the end consumer. Sure, ID verifying legal age is being checked at the door (thank goodness!) but the products these places are carrying come from people and places that are unknown entities. This unregulated market poses potentially serious risks to the community. Often, products that make it to the gray market here in New York have been rejected by other legal markets because they are old or have seeds (much less desirable) but other times it’s because they failed safety tests.
Untested products can have pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins along with other residual issues that can pose serious health risk to those who consume them. Often these toxins have a cumulative effect in that they are not seen right away but they build up over time leading to health issues in the future. Each day that passes, more and more of these products are meeting the market demand and the demand is higher than it’s ever been. Consumers are generally seeking the least expensive option with little regard for their own personal safety. Moreover, sticker shops aren’t too concerned where these products come from, but more importantly, where they go. One of these retail stores allowed their product to end up in a local school. While it’s the users fault for not securing their THC containing product, I highly doubt there was any mention or warning to keep it away from children. It's our children that we are most compelled to protect because, let's face it, adults are going to make their own choices. The teenagers looking to experiment are at the greatest risk for adverse, lasting effects. Until regulations are established and legal dispensaries open, we are tasked with protecting our children and communities, and to reduce or eliminate the illegal activity that poses serious risks if we do not.