Rochester cannabis shop raided by NYS OCM

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Rochester cannabis shop was raided on Tuesday, and the owner tells News10NBC the state confiscated between $1 million and $2 million worth of products.

The Office of Cannabis Management says Triclomes, LLC along Dewey Avenue did not have the proper license to sell THC products, but owner John Brown says the state overstepped its authority during the raid and he’ll be fighting it in court.

“There’s a great big sign that says cannabis — see the van, it says ‘got weed?’ — I’m not hiding it,” Brown tells News10NBC. His business, Triclomes, LLC, was awarded a cannabinoid hemp license from New York state in 2021. Since then, he’s been selling all kinds of cannabis products at his store.

On Tuesday, the Office of Cannabis Management showed up at his shop. Surveillance video of the raid reviewed by News10NBC shows a man in plain clothes show his ID at the door and get buzzed in. He then holds the door open behind him. “All the sudden, 10, 12, 13 OCM members walk in, their jackets and vests were clearly marked as police officers but they’re not police. How are they running around behaving like police, police can’t raid a place without a warrant, how can they?” wonders Brown.

The team from OCM then starts confiscating almost all the products in sight. Brown says they were on-site for five hours, and the surveillance video shows them going behind the counter and boxing up products by the handful. “They’re not counting any of these, they just load the stuff up,” Brown says.

When they were done, the investigators placed a notice on the front door of the business telling the public they had seized illegal cannabis at the location.

“They probably seized $1.5-$2 million worth of assets from me yesterday,” Brown says. “There was some that was THC; there was also a good majority that was strictly CBD, things like shampoos, hand lotions, all those other products that are completely medicinal, there’s no THC in there whatsoever … they didn’t test anything, they didn’t do anything.”

The state says Triclomes, and a number of other shops it has raided across the state in the last few months, do not have permission to sell THC products to recreational-use customers. Currently, in the Finger Lakes region only a handful of licenses have been handed out for recreational dispensaries and those who have them are not yet open.

John Brown: We’re paying our taxes, all of our employees are on the books, everything we’re doing legitimately, but the state wants to stop us, the state wants to injure us, why?

Jennifer Lewke: So, just to be clear, you’ve been charging state tax on all marijuana products and passing that money along to the state?

John Brown: Yes.

Jennifer Lewke: At what rate? The rate they (the state) want?

John Brown: 8% up until the point that they increased it. Now, they can’t make that dollar amount retroactive, so if we’ve made eight tax payments and the state has actually collected those payments, wouldn’t that make the state a co-defendant in the crime if you’re saying what I’m doing is illegal? You’ve collected the money?

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Office of Cannabis Management says, “Yesterday’s inspections were conducted within the framework of New York’s Cannabis Law. During the inspection process, Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) investigators seized products that were being sold without the appropriate license. Following a complete investigation, the OCM and the Department of Taxation and Finance will pursue appropriate penalties pursuant to their respective administrative authority.”

The state says that OCM has the authority to conduct regulatory inspections, during normal business hours, of any place of business where medical cannabis, adult-use cannabis, cannabis, cannabis product, cannabinoid hemp, hemp extract, or any products marketed or labeled as such, are cultivated, processed, stored, distributed, or sold by any person holding a registration, license, or permit under the Cannabis Law, or by any person who is engaging in activity for which a license would be required under the Cannabis Law.

News10NBC requested information from OCM about it differentiates between TCH and CBD/Hemp products during these inspections, we’re still waiting to hear back.