New York Unveils Dispensary Verification Tool, Doubles Down on Gray Market

Delivery operators will have a similar tool.

New York plans to issue verification stamps for properly licensed stores and pursue a public education campaign to dissuade consumers away from gray market operations.

Businesses will be able to post the stickers on the windows of their legally licensed dispensaries, “which are set to begin opening before the end of this year,” the governor’s office said in a Friday press release.

“It’s critical for New York’s cannabis consumers to understand the risks of buying untested, illicit products and to have the tools to guide them to the safer, legal market that’s poised to open,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

“These tools will help to protect public health and strengthen our ability to deliver the equitable cannabis market our law envisions. We will continue to work with our partners in municipalities across the state to enforce the law and shutdown illicit operators who are selling products that put New Yorkers at risk.”

The logo stamp will include a QR code that can be scanned by anyone with a smart phone to verify the legitimacy of the storefront as the regulators look to crack down on illicit businesses springing up throughout the state.

Chris Alexander, executive director of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, said that the verification tool is “one step” to “strengthen the equitable, legal adult-use cannabis market we’re building.”

“Our enforcement team has been growing its partnerships and ramping up activity from Buffalo to New York City and will continue to do so until these illicit stores and trucks are shutdown,” Alexander said.

A similar version will be available for delivery licensees looking to hit the market ahead of turnkey openings.

The public campaign, dubbed “Why Buy Legal New York,” will explain the benefits of buying from licensed retailers and discusses the risks of buying unlicensed products.

The state also said that sold product will also include a symbol to designate it as a tested, regulated product.

Consumers can check both the storefront for the dispensary verification tool and the label to ensure they’re purchasing a state regulated product.

“The dispensary verification tool unveiled by Gov. Hochul today combined with requirements for the universal symbol on regulated products sets us off on the right foot,” said Cannabis Control Board chair Tremaine Wright. “It is critical that consumers know and trust that the new, legal cannabis market offers tested products and follows protocols designed to protect public health. These efforts combined with rigorous enforcement, will help build a stable, legal marketplace.”

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson covers the cannabis industry for The Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Columbia Missourian and has written for The Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants, and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.


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