STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said New York’s weed laws have failed to include criminal enforcement, allowing illegal dispensaries to open across the state before legal dispensaries, Bloomberg said in his Bloomberg.com column.
The former mayor said it’s now as “easy to buy an ounce of pot as it is a slice of pizza. The state took so long to get a licensing operation up and running that entrepreneurs had nearly two years to establish illicit operations – and they took full advantage.”
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo singed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act into law in March 2021, but no dispensaries opened while he was still in office. When Gov. Kathy Hochul became governor after Cuomo’s resignation, she said one of her “top priorities” would be to get the state’s cannabis industry up and running.
The first legal weed dispensary opened in Manhattan on Dec. 29, 2022.
As of March 2023, there are four legal weed dispensaries open for business, two in New York City and two in upstate New York.
A spokeswoman for Hochul’s office told the NY Post, “We continue to work with our partners to enforce the law and to explore every possible mechanism