ABLANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Lawmakers are proposing legislation to hold those who are selling cannabis illegally accountable. This happening after some people, including children ingested cannabis edibles without even realizing it. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows in 2017 there were 207 reported cases of cannabis edible ingestions in children younger than age 6. In 2021 that number rose to 3054 cases. 

“We must do everything we can to save lives, and prevent this crisis from getting any more out of hand,” said Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio who is proposing legislation to enact stricter penalties for people who don’t follow the rules. Recreational cannabis for those 21 and older is legal in New York and 5 retail dispensaries are open for business. These products are legal in those stores, but the Office of Cannabis Management does have guidelines in place when it comes to marketing. “My bill would require that the packaging, sale, marketing, branding, advertising, labeling or possession by any licensee of any cannabis product not labeled in conformity with rules and regulations shall be grounds for criminal prosecution,” said Assembly woman Giglio.

Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffrey Smith says he finds that it isn’t licensed dispensaries selling these products. “There’s vape shops and smoke shops and we have discovered some areas where they have some of these THC items and we photographed and we sent that data down to Albany in hopes that they can work with us to try to put an end to that before it becomes a bigger problem,” said Smith.

Lyla Hunt, deputy director of public health & Campaign at OCM wants to make it clear that New York Dispensaries are following OCM guidelines. “What you see in the unregulated, unlicensed stores is not what you would see in the regulated stores. I think there’s a lot of misinformation and New Yorkers, in general, are trying to understand this new industry,” she said. OCM encourages safe storage of cannabis products to ensure children don’t get into them.