New York was trying to send a message.
The state permitted marijuana possession last year, but recreational sales of the drug remain illegal until regulators can set up business licenses. This process has been slow — with the first legal sales still months away. But recreational dispensaries didn’t want to wait and began “gifting” their customers weed with the purchase of, say, a digital video – exploiting a potential loophole in the state law.
So New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) organized a public crackdown in February – complete with a press release touting its efforts – announcing it mailed out cease-and-desist letters to what it claimed were more than two dozen retailers engaging in unlicensed, unlawful sales.
Or at least that’s what the state agency said at the time.
In an email to Gothamist last week, OCM refused to acknowledge whether the cease-and-desist letters actually exist.
Rashied McDuffie, the office’s deputy general counsel, wrote on May 2nd that OCM had conducted a “diligent search” for the letters after Gothamist filed a Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL, request for them in February.
“Based upon this search, OCM does not confirm nor deny the existence of a letter sent by it to any entity,” wrote McDuffie, who went on to say that if the letters do exist, they would be exempt from public disclosure because they were “compiled for law enforcement purposes.” [Read more at The Gothamist]