Illicit cannabis sales have been going strong in the Big Apple, with buds and edibles flourishing in Manhattan for months. A new study might put a damper on things.
Conducted by the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association in arrangement with the NJ Cannabis Trade Association and Connecticut Medical Cannabis Council, the study revealed that nearly half of all illegal cannabis products being sold in NYC are tainted, reported New York Post. The survey showed that 40% of 40 products bought in 20 unlicensed shops contained a number of harmful contaminants, such as E. coli, pesticides, salmonella and heavy metals including nickel and lead.
The new findings come on the heels of the New York State Cannabis Control Board's (CCB) recent decision to greenlight the first 36 for conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses.
Results from an independent lab also showed that products did not contain the amount of THC listed on the label, with gummy bears having THC levels more than twice the amount advertised.
Over 30 unlicensed cannabis dispensaries operating in New York City, which openly advertise sales of THC products, have been identified even though the estimated number of shops with backroom operations is said to be far greater.
"There are likely tens of thousands of illicit cannabis businesses currently operating out of bodegas, smoke shops, or other retail locations operating for an additional, legal purpose throughout the five boroughs," the report said.
In addition, employers in more than half of locations do not ask for identification upon purchase.
"Gifting" Operations Still Up & Running
The research also pointed to a number of "gifting" operations where customers receive cannabis as a gift after buying art, an NFT or a mixtape, to name a few items.
Since New York cannabis regulators deemed marijuana gifting to be illegal last year, the Office of Cannabis Management's (OCM) Enforcement Unit has sent cease and desist letters to several businesses it found to be doing just that since then.
However, despite warnings from state regulators, unlicensed marijuana dispensaries continue to multiply in New York City as well as other New York towns.
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