New York state authorities have taken their first steps outside of New York City to address the broader unlicensed marijuana market across the Empire State, with raids on seven illicit shops in Cayuga, Oswego, and Wayne counties.
Officials from the New York Office of Cannabis Management, the attorney general’s office, and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office cooperated on the raids, which took place at locations operating under the “I’m Stuck” brand, owned by David Tulley who has been selling cannabis without a permit “since at least early 2022,” according to a press release.
The OCM also entered a court order for Tulley to appear in court on Aug. 2.
The raids came after the operator was sent multiple cease-and-desist letters and violation notices by the OCM beginning in February last year. Agents from the attorney general’s office also observed staff at “multiple” I’m Stuck locations selling to minors.
The company is also accused of illegally processing, packaging, and selling its own cannabis products without a license, thus “creating (a) significant health risk to consumers.”
New York State Police padlocked the doors shut at locations in:
According to officials, Tulley misrepresented his marijuana shops as consulting firms, but investigators from the attorney general’s office were able to easily purchase more than $1,000 of cannabis goods from six different I’m Stuck stores.
Tulley also held “Easter egg hunt” events in April this year, run by several of his stores, that gave away marijuana goods – including “flower, edibles, cannabis seeds, and other products” – through a scavenger hunt.
In May, another attorney general’s office investigator observed an I’m Stuck shop selling $200 in cannabis to a minor.
Then in June and July, the OCM inspected several facilities, seized hundreds of pounds of marijuana products, and issued Tulley another cease-and-desist order to which he replied that “he would defy the Office’s orders and remain open for business.”
“After verifying continued unlawful activity, the OCM requested assistance from the Attorney General to file this action,” the release states, adding that it’s seeking an injunction against Tulley and his businesses to ensure they’re shut out of the New York marijuana industry, along with fines for both Tulley and his landlords.
Tulley faces millions in possible penalties and officials are also seeking sanctions against the building owners where his shops operated, according to the release. The building owners were listed as Empire Express Enterprises, NMM Properties, Michael and Justine Gregory, Donald DiSanto, CapFlow Capital, Means Excavating, and Lauri Lamica.
I’m Stuck has an eighth location in Monroe County that apparently was not shuttered.
The shutdowns continues a crackdown trend that began after Hochul signed into law new enforcement powers for both the OCM and the state Department of Tax and Finance to issue civil fines of up to $20,000 per day to those engaging in illegal cannabis commerce.
Until now, all of the targeted storefronts have been in New York City, where there’s an estimated 1,500 such illicit shops. This marks the first major enforcement push in rural New York.
Tulley is far from the only crackdown target who has refused to buckle at the first sight of trouble. The Empire Cannabis Club has also vowed to fight OCM closure orders in court, while several other New York City recipients of cease-and-desist letters have reportedly just ignored them and continued on with business as usual.