The medicinal cannabis industry in New York is worried the state's efforts to address illicit marijuana sales won't go far enough in addressing the ongoing problem in the state. 

New York lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul in the newly approved $229 billion state budget agreed to new penalties for businesses that sell cannabis without a license, including civil fines and potentially closing stores that are selling illegally. 

But the Coalition for Access to Regulated & Safe Cannabis, a trade organization that represents medical cannabis operators, faulted state officials for allowing the illicit marketplace to flourish and creating an unfair degree of competition. 

"As a result, New York collected a paltry $1.1 million in cannabis tax revenue between January and March of this year, shortchanging communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs who are, by law, to benefit from adult-use legalization," said the Rev. John Foy on behalf of the group. 

Foy pointed to the cannabis marketplace in New Jersey by contrast leading to the collection of $4.6 million in tax revenue in the first 10 weeks of being launched in 2022. 

"Meanwhile, the unregulated, untested, and potentially contaminated cannabis products sold by unlicensed operators is putting consumers – including our children – unnecessarily at risk," Foy said.

Medicinal cannabis organizations have called for new measures meant to aid their operations through regulation as well as in the state's cannabis laws. 

The Hochul administration touted the efforts to address illegal cannabis sales while state officials sought ways to address the issue without re-creating prior drug laws legalization was meant to address. 

Under the budget agreeement, penalties can reach up to $100,000 and state regulators can move to shutdown businesses as well as fine landlords who do not address illict sales on their properties.

"As New York State continues to roll out a nation-leading model to establish its cannabis industry, these critical enforcement measures will protect New Yorkers from illicit, unregulated sales," Hochul said. "Unlicensed dispensaries violate our laws, put public health at risk, and undermine the legal cannabis market."