(Bloomberg) -- New York State’s sales of legal cannabis this year will pass the $200 million mark in early June as enforcement of illegal stores ramps up, according to the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.

Retail sales of $196.5 million year-to-date have surpassed the $160 million sold in all of 2023, a presentation on Tuesday showed. John Kagia, the senior director of policy at the agency, said that part of the growth comes from more success in closing down illegal stores. Efforts to padlock more locations, as well as educate consumers about the difference between the licensed and unlicensed stores, are ongoing, he added. 

It’s been estimated that New York has thousands of shops that aren’t licensed. Such stores, which often look like legal dispensaries, have been tough competition for the entrepreneurs who follow the state’s regulations by getting licensed, sourcing only safety-tested, legal products, and paying taxes.

“The enforcement team has been going absolutely gangbusters,” Kagia said, noting that people are “frustrated” with stores selling unlicensed cannabis next to schools or homes. 

The regulator, which didn’t disclose an estimate for the number of stores closed so far, expects to announce more headway in enforcement in July. So far, there are 132 legal dispensaries open across the state, Kagia said. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.