NY Weed Shop Raided, No Cause Or Search Warrant, Owner Calls It 'Unadulterated Authority'

Triclomes, a cannabis shop in Rochester, New York, was recently raided. 

John Brown, the owner, says officers seized around $2 million in cannabis products without any explanation, search warrant or cause, reported Wham.

"They were asked for a warrant and probable cause, but nobody had anything to issue. Nobody wanted to give ID or say who they were. They just said, 'We're OCM, and we can do this,'" said Brown, referring to NY's Office of Cannabis Management, which also conducted raids in Manhattan on Tuesday. 

What happened: On Tuesday, the NYPD raided a marijuana dispensary in Manhattan as part of an ongoing battle against the hundreds of illicit weed shops that are popping up all over the city. While the officers were targeting two locations of the Empire Cannabis Club chain, they were only successful with one.

Why? The second attempt failed when store manager Lenore Elfand taped the police, which is legal, as they attempted to barge in without a search warrant, which is not legal.

Why it matters: Brown in Rochester is expressing concerns that the OCM is behaving with “unadulterated authority.” He says New York has made it nearly impossible to comply with product-testing mandates.

"Where do we get it tested at? If the state doesn’t have those facilities in place, are you going to license me to do it? If I own all the equipment, have all the know-how, the knowledge, why can't I get that license myself" Brown asked. "We don't have a license because the state hasn't issued those licenses."

According to the OCM website, the agency is “still soliciting firms to perform third-party sampling of adult-use and medical cannabis products in New York State." Currently, there is only one permitted testing lab in Rochester.

Brown added that by buying in a legal dispensary like his, customers are ensured that the products are safe and tested. “There is no heroin, fentanyl, there is nothing else mixed inside. How about the illicit places that are selling all the other stuff, not just a legal product."

Why is so difficult for New York to curb illicit marijuana operations?

One of the reasons is that the state is way behind schedule in terms of issuing licenses for legal dispensaries. With only 19 operating across the entire state, customers don’t have many legal options to choose from. Other reasons are likely force of habit and, of course, price. 

What’s next: The state will probably work on speeding up the license-issuing process as it likely realizes it's losing millions of dollars the longer this situation drags on.

Want to talk more about these thorny issues facing not only New York but other states? Join us at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago on Sept 27-28. Get your tickets today before prices go up. Secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis investment and branding.

Related Links:

'Time For Course Correction': Activists Urge NY Gov. Hochul To Open Up Rec Program 

Can You Sue An Individual State For Legalizing Cannabis? This Group Thinks So And Goes After New York

Photo: Courtesy of Jusdevoyage via Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisNewsMarketscannabis raidIllegal CannabisJohn BrownLenore ElfandNew York CannabisOCMTriclomes
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