ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)-- In a Senate committee hearing Monday, New York State lawmakers examined a variety of challenges facing the cannabis market including the enforcement process for illegal shops and supply chain challenges impacting cannabis growers and farmers. 

Some lawmakers stressed the importance of expanding the market, beyond the 27 retail adult use cannabis stores currently operating in the state.  

“We have to do better, because if we do not speed this process up, if we do not address the lack of retail access across the state both upstate and downstate then the illicit market will continue to overcome and overtake the legal market,” said Sen. Jeremy Cooney (D-56th Senate District).

During questioning, lawmakers continually expressed big concerns around the enforcement process for illegal stores. 

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management said while enforcement actions have not stopped, there is room for improvements.

“Our team is out there seizing products everyday all across the state. So, that is working, we are doing that. What we’re talking about is the administrative process that follows, and you know, we may have to fine tune that,” said Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management.

The Office of Cannabis Management said during the hearing they plan to issue more adult use licenses in the coming months. 

This week the Office of Cannabis Management is also hosting public education presentations about adult use license applications in several cities across the state including Ithaca and Buffalo.