Friday, October 27, 2017

A Guide to the Changes Coming to Cannabis Law in California

California is rapidly moving cannabis out of an unregulated gray area into a very black and white but highly regulated commercial arena. This began with the passage by the legislature in late 2015 of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), which created for the first time a black and white licensing scheme and a specific scheme of commerce for cannabis businesses in California. Then, the voters voted to legalize recreational cannabis under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64, or AUMA). AUMA both created a licensing system that was parallel to but very different from the medical licensing in MMRSA and also reduced or eliminated penalties for most cannabis crimes, both prospectively and retroactively.A loose bud of marijuana in Auburn, CA

Licensing under both AUMA and MMRSA was scheduled to begin at the start of 2018—an ambitious schedule. In April 2017, several agencies in charge of enforcing the new cannabis licensing schemes issued draft regulations for medical cannabis businesses. Then, in June, the legislature threw a monkey wrench into the process, passing the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (SB 94, or MAUCRSA). The new act eliminated the differences in licensing between the medical and recreational sides but maintained a distinction between the two. The act also meant that the draft regulations had to be withdrawn.

Today, as 2017 begins to wind down, the state of California cannabis law is as much in flux as it has ever been. New regulations governing cannabis businesses are due out shortly, and the state is still aiming to start issuing licenses at the start of 2018. Cities and counties can make the ultimate decisions regarding commercial cannabis activity being allowed in their jurisdictions, and cities and counties throughout the state are creating and refining cannabis ordinances and licensing schemes almost on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, those who have previously been convicted of cannabis crimes suddenly have opportunities to clean up their records. And there are new methods of enforcement and different civil and criminal penalties than ever before being levied against people who are operating in the same ways that had been legal for the past decade.

Whether you are a cultivator or an entrepreneur, the Law Office of Samuel D. Berns, Inc. can help guide you through the upcoming changes to cannabis law in California. We have always advocated for cannabis-reform through different organizations, such as Americans for Safe Access and California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA). If you live in Placer County or the surrounding areas, call 530-212-0468 for a consultation. You can also fill out our contact form online.

Friday, July 7, 2017

DUI Consequences: Will You Lose Your License?

California drivers who are facing charges of driving under the influence (DUI) are subject to severe consequences, which vary depending on several factors. Retaining an experienced DUI attorney can ensure that the driver's rights are protected as they navigate this complex legal process. Here's what drivers need to know about California DUI penalties.
License get taken away because of drunk driving especially without a DUI attorney

Basic DUI Penalties

In general, penalties increase with each DUI offense as follows:

- For the first DUI offense, California drivers can receive between four days and six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 plus penalties which may increase that amount to four or five times the base fine. This offense also carries a license suspension of 30 days to 10 months. In certain counties, the first offense requires the installation of an interlock ignition device (IID), which requires the driver to submit to a breathalyzer-like test that prevents the car from starting if his or her blood-alcohol level is too high.

- For the second DUI offense, penalties include 10 days to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,800 plus penalties. The driver's license can be suspended for two years, but this can be reduced to one year. IID installation is mandatory.

- The third DUI offense has consequences of 120 days to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,800 plus penalties, a three-year license suspension, and a mandatory IID installation.

- If a fourth DUI occurs within 10 years of a third DUI, the driver may receive prison time and fines, a four-year license suspension, and mandatory IID.

With the help of a qualified DUI lawyer, prison time may be reduced to probation for a felony DUI charge. Additionally, a seasoned attorney can guide you through the complex court system.

Permanent License Suspension

In certain cases, California driver's licenses can be revoked or suspended permanently. Conviction of a DUI resulting in murder always results in permanent license revocation. A permanent suspension can also occur at the judge's discretion in convictions of the following:

- DUI manslaughter

- DUI resulting in serious injury

- Fourth DUI Offense

Because of these wide-ranging penalties for DUI, it's important to retain a DUI attorney experienced in criminal defense who can advocate for a fair sentence, no matter the offense. During this difficult time, individuals should remember that regardless of the situation, there is always hope for better terms of suspension and better results. Contact the Law Office of Samuel D. Berns, Inc. should you face charges from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cannabis Laws in California- What Does it Mean for You?

We are entering a new era in California cannabis. With the passage of MCRSA and Proposition 64, cannabis businesses are now finally able to come into the light. Cannabis is moving from being maybe the least regulated agricultural product in the state, to the probably the most regulated. It's going to be an adjustment, to say the least.

Over the past several weeks, the state agencies that will be in charge of different types of cannabis business licensing have released draft regulations for the various types of businesses. The draft regulations give us a good idea of just how much work it will take to get licensed. The regulations include requirements that cannabis businesses who want to get licensed use state of the art security equipment, submit professional architectural plans for their sites, and use renewable energy to meet nearly half their power requirements. Manufacturers of concentrates and edibles will have to come up with and abide by strict sanitation requirements, while cultivators will be required to undergo stringent environmental inspections. Every plant has to be tracked from the moment it sprouts to the moment the product from it is sold. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Compliance won't be easy, but as hard as it is, it's a tremendous opportunity. Not only can you come into the light, but the cannabis industry is now ripe with chances for participants to become cutting edge innovators. If we do this right, we become an example for other industries to follow. In a few years, when inevitably the manufacturing sector is required to abide by similarly strict environmental standards, they will look to cannabis producers and distributors as an example of how to best comply and come up with ways to reduce environmental impacts and costs alike. When the wholesale housewares industry is looking at how to streamline inventory management, they will look at some of the most inventive track and trace programs as an example for how to do it. When the food and beverage industry has to update safety and sanitation and packaging protocols, they will look at the cannabis industry, who will have been operating under those protocols for years by that point.

You can do this, but you need the right professionals helping you out, starting with the best legal team you can find and continuing on to architects, engineers, graphic artists, security professionals - the list goes on. Get the right set of people behind you and get going.

This is a solicitation, and the Law Office of Samuel D. Berns, Inc., cannot guarantee results.