(WIVB) — New York State is telling eight Western New York cannabis stores to clean up their act or risk losing the chance to become a licensed dispensary.

The Office of Cannabis Management mailed cease and desist letters to 52 cannabis retailers across the Empire State believed to be making unlicensed cannabis sales.

NYS legalized adult-use cannabis in March 2021 under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. However, no licenses have been issued to any retailers for legal sales. The OCM is still hammering out regulations before they start handing out licenses.

The OCM told the seven WNY retailers to stop any illegal sales and threatened that if it continues, their chance to get a license is at risk. The stores could also be subject to “to substantial fines and possible criminal penalties.”

The board believes the unlicensed sale of marijuana puts public health at risk. Unlicensed sales also mean NYS can’t cash in on taxing the product.

Here’s a list of the cited businesses:

  1. CannaGlam2022, 1478 Abbott Rd Suite B Lackawanna, NY 14218
  2. Green Vision Wellness, Inc., 209 Washburn Street Lockport, NY 14094
  3. Green Vision Wellness, Inc., 469 Abbott Rd Buffalo, NY 14220
  4. Green Vision Wellness, Inc., 1380 French Rd Depew, NY 14043
  5. Green Vision Wellness, Inc., 2463 Niagara Falls Blvd Amherst, NY 14228
  6. The Hot Spot, 616 West State Street Olean, NY 14760
  7. Tammy L Morshed, 4540 E. River Rd Grand Island, NY 14072
  8. Plant It Express NY LLC, 14 Eden Ave Tonawanda, NY 14150

“These stores are masquerading as licensed, regulated businesses, but they are nothing of the sort. They aren’t creating opportunity, they are creating confusion – New Yorkers think they’re buying a high-quality, tested product when they aren’t,” said Chris Alexander, executive director, OCM. “Not only are these stores operating in violation of New York’s Cannabis Law, but they also are breaking state tax and several municipal laws. I look forward to working with other regulatory bodies across the state to hold these stores accountable for their flagrant violations of the law.”

Attorney Lauren Rudick joined News 4 at 4 via Zoom on Friday to discuss the cease and desist notices. The full interview can be seen below.

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.