Proposed Council Bill Would Revoke Tobacco Licenses for Illegal Cannabis Sales

Image credit: New York City Council.

On September 14, 2023, the City Council introduced Int. 1172-2023, a bill to revoke tobacco retailer licenses for those who sell cannabis illegally, which Council Member Robert Holden sponsored.

The bill would empower the Commissioner of Consumer and Worker Protection with the authority to take decisive action against tobacco retail dealers who violate the requirements set forth in the Cannabis Law. Specifically, the bill aimed to grant the Commissioner the discretion to refuse license renewals, and suspend, or revoke a licenses of tobacco retailers found to be in violation of the state’s Cannabis Law.

The Commissioner may refuse to renew, suspend or revoke licenses for a wide range of violations, including: (1) license applicants have made a material false statement, or concealed a material fact during the application process; (2) license applicants found to have not paid civil penalties or judgements relating to cigarette sales; (3) violated specific sections, such as section 17-706 of the administrative code or corresponding regulations; (4) failed to comply with section 10-203 of the administrative code or corresponding regulations; or (5) violated subdivision 1 of section 125 of the Cannabis Law or corresponding regulations, pertaining to the unauthorized distribution for sale, sale, or delivery to consumers of any cannabis products, as defined in section 3 of Cannabis Law (including cannabis, cannabis product, medical cannabis, cannabinoid hemp, or hemp extract).

In addition, the law mandates the Commissioner to conduct an education and outreach campaign, designed to apprise and educate licensees affected by this new local law. This pivotal amendment represents a step towards ensuring compliance with the rapidly evolving cannabis laws in New York. This bill has been referred to a committee for a hearing on a future date. CityLand contacted Council Member Holden’s office for comment but did not receive a response.

By: Michal Chait (Michal is a New York Law School student, Class of 2024).



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