ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State shut down a chain of local unlicensed cannabis dispensaries after investigators determined they were selling products without a license and to underage customers.
“I’m Stuck” has several locations throughout the state, owned by David Tulley. State Attorney General Letitia James announced Monday that the dispensaries in Auburn, Lyons, Macedon, Ontario, Pulaski, and Williamson have all been padlocked shut.
The crackdown was made possible through a new state law granting the attorney general new authority to take action against unlicensed cannabis dispensaries.
According to the attorney general’s office, “I’m Stuck” was caught illegally processing, packaging and selling unregulated cannabis products. Investigators also said Tulley sold cannabis to minors, but Tulley denied that claim.
“We did not sell cannabis to minors,” he said Tuesday. “They brought in two investigators —one which was 20 years old. That person and in the attorney general’s own words says I turned around and gave the cannabis to the minor.”
Investigators say Tulley was warned repeatedly by the Office of Cannabis Management to stop selling the products, but ignored them. Tulley said the warnings were not relevant to his business.
“They sent out cease and desist letters about membership programs and sticker clubs and about selling t-shirts and giving out. We don’t do any of that,” Tulley said. “We don’t even gift weed in a sense. We give a free sample like an interior decorator. She comes into your home and educates you about her curtains and then gives you a free sample.”
Tulley also called his business “a consulting and marketing firm” Tuesday, saying, “they told New Yorkers cannabis was the devil and cannabis was wrong. We educated the public.”
New York State Office of Cannabis Management Director of Enforcement Daniel Haughney was in the area Wednesday. He said the state has good reason to shut down unlicensed businesses.
“In order for those licensed legal locations to succeed, we can’t allow an unlicensed illegal dispensary to conduct business,” Haughney said. “When you get all that revenue coming into the licensed dispensaries, a good portion of that goes back into the communities as established by the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Conversely, when you have illegal unlicensed dispensaries such as this, all of that money is just getting pocketed by the owners. it’s not getting reinvested into the communities.”
“Legalizing cannabis in New York was a historic milestone to correct the harms of the past, but there are laws that must be followed to ensure cannabis products are safe and kept out of the hands of minors,” said Attorney General James. “David Tulley brazenly violated our laws, cheated taxpayers, and endangered our kids by selling unregulated cannabis to underage customers. Today’s enforcement action should send a clear message that businesses that are selling cannabis without a license will be stopped.
The attorney general’s office said Monday it would seek to penalize Tulley, his companies, and the owners of the buildings hosting his storefronts. He could face fines into the millions of dollars.