Judge Fines Unlicensed Cannabis Shop Owner $15 Million

As part of a nationwide attempt to crack down on illegal businesses, a New York judge fined David Tulley $15.2 million for running six cannabis dispensaries without licenses in Wayne, Cayuga, and Oswego counties.

The OCM raided Tulley’s establishments in June and July 2023 and confiscated an unspecified quantity of cannabis items in reaction to his defiance of a cease-and-desist order.

Tulley, who owned the I’m Stuck stores and two other unlicensed businesses in Monroe County, had been running his businesses without a license since early 2022.

State authorities described his establishments as “consulting” firms, but he persisted in operating them despite receiving notifications of infractions and cease-and-desist letters from the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

On Thursday, Tulley announced his intention to appeal the punishment. 

Additionally, the Office of the Attorney General’s undercover investigations uncovered tax-exempt sales, misleading advertising, and sales to minors. One such instance was an Easter egg hunt that offered cannabis items as prizes.

Just one month after New York Governor Kathy Hochul significantly increased enforcement power and allocated funds from the recently adopted yearly state budget to combat the growth of unlicensed marijuana operations, a historic ruling was handed down.

In a statement, state Attorney General Letitia James warned that she will enforce the law and shut down operations if any cannabis stores in the state did not have proper licenses. James added that Tulley was also accused of selling cannabis products to underage customers illegally.

Last year, Tulley claimed that his stores could operate without state licenses as they charged customers for cannabis product knowledge and consultation and gave them free samples. Additionally, he said that he did not sell anything to minors.

Legal sales in New York started in late 2022, but the state has struggled to deal with the hundreds of unlicensed vendors that have emerged since then. In New York City, the issue is more noticeable since unlicensed vendors have long used dazzling shops to sell their wares without fear of repercussions.

July of last year saw the closure of Tulley’s stores by state authorities.