So far, New Yorkers in 2022 have seen a massive increase in crime across the city. For the month of February 2022, New York City saw a 58.7% increase in overall index crime compared to February 2021. Every major index crime category saw an increase for the month of February 2022. Robbery increased by 56 percent, grand larceny increased by a whopping 79.2 percent, and grand larceny auto more than doubled, jumping up a massive 104.7 percent.
So, what are the politicians doing about it? Drafting legislation to shut down family-owned businesses for selling a plant. That’s right, currently, politicians in New York are moving through legislation to shut down honest mom and pop operations that would dare to sell a plant to a willing customer — without first paying the state for the privilege of doing so.
In March of 2021, New York legalized recreational marijuana and that’s where the progress stopped. Despite legalization, the state of New York requires businesses to obtain a license from the government before they can legally sell the plant. There’s only one problem… for an entire year, the state didn’t issue any licenses.
In the land of the free, attempting to earn money in certain professions without first paying the state for the privilege of doing so can and will get you kidnapped and extorted. These laws are applied to children behind lemonade stands as well as adults selling flowers. The state callously and with extreme prejudice has been documented arresting people, or even beating up women to enforce these licensing laws.
Instead of focusing on their rampant crime problem, legislators in New York are using their authority to continue this disturbing cycle. They are now going after unlicensed cannabis companies that dared to earn a living without first obtaining a license that didn’t exist.
The good news is that many folks aren’t waiting for the state to give them permission and are openly defying the licensing requirement — and they’re doing so successfully.
One of those businesses is run by the Elfand family in New York City. The Elfand family has every right to sell cannabis, especially considering the fact that many members of the Elfand family were locked in a cage for years for doing that very thing. As Forbes reports:
At one point in her life, all the adult men in Lenore Elfand’s family were serving time for cannabis. But after New York state legalized marijuana in March 2021, the Elfands decided to open a dispensary—despite not having a license. In September, Lenore, who had never been in the business, and her brothers opened Empire Cannabis Club—which charges $15 for a one-day membership in exchange for the ability to buy buds, edibles and vapes—in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
“We opened here because we were on a mission: to take back the years lost,” says Lenore. “The years of being on the other side [while] my brothers have been in prison. It affects everybody in the family.”
Despite successfully providing cancer, PTSD, epilepsy, glaucoma, and countless other patients with a medicinal plant that improves their lives, people like NY State Senator Diane Savino wants to shut them down.
The State of New York wants “to make it clear that this activity is absolutely outside the law and if you engage in it, not only will you be guilty of the illegal sale and transfer of marijuana but you will be precluded from ever getting a license in this state,” Savino pompously told NBC 4 this week in an interview, closing out with a threat, “so you don’t get to jump the gun.”
Savino is behind the legislation currently being pushed through the NY House which will send cops to the Elfand family’s business to kick in their door, arrest everyone inside, and steal their life savings. Because “license.”
For now, the Elfand’s and others remain unfazed and are openly defying the state’s ridiculous order. The Elfands and others have the people on their side and if cops focus their resources on shutting them down for providing a much-needed resource to their community — instead of going after the violent criminals who are running rampant in the city — they will be seen as the enemy. Hopefully, law enforcement takes the moral path and refuses to go after these companies.
Bravo Elfand family for showing the world that great things can happen when good people choose to break bad laws.