ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–There are currently less than 10 legal pot stores in New York State with possibly hundreds of shops operating illegally. Dan Haughney, Director of Enforcement for the Office of Cannabis Management said, as of this week they have more authority to crack down on these illegal stores and are working with law enforcement.

“We are now authorized to conduct regulatory inspections in any locations selling cannabis or cannabis products,” said Haughney. “It doesn’t matter if they are licensed through OCM or not, if they are selling these products, we are allowed now to go in, conduct an inspection, and seize any illicit product they have within that location.”

OCM can also go to the courts to seek injunctions, restraining orders, and stop work orders.

“And significantly at the top of the list, is an order to actually padlock and chain the door shut of a location if they choose not to heed our advice to stop the unlawful conduct.

According to Haughney, under this new law, the owner or proprietor of an unlicensed location can now be held accountable for their actions.

Fines can also be given which can vary based on the amount of product seized.Dan SOT: some of the more significant penalties are if we identify a location that is operated as an unlicensed dispensary, we can issue a civil penalty through OCM of up to $10,000 a day, just for operating as an unlicensed dispensary.

However, if they continue operating, they could be fined up to $20,000 a day. New Yorkers who want to buy cannabis are encouraged to buy from licensed stores.

“These shops that are illegally operating as dispensaries, they are selling product from out of state. A lot of the product we don’t know where it originates from. It’s not tested, and from our standpoint, it’s not safe for public consumption,” explained Haughney. “So shutting those shops down will aid in creating a safe industry in New York.”