DISCIPLINE PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANNABIS COMPLIANCE BOARD
Beginning in July 2020, the newly created Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) will have regulatory and discipline authority over Nevada’s growing marijuana industry. As a new administrative body, the processes and procedures are still being worked out; but even before the CCB begin operations, many in the marijuana industry are already asking how the transition of oversight from the Nevada Department of Taxation to the CCB will affect pending license inquires and ongoing investigations. Below is a general overview of the discipline process that will apply once CCB begins operations in July 2020.
Investigation by the Nevada Attorney General
If a license holder has violated, or is suspected of violating, any statute or regulation regarding the cultivation, production, sale, or other related activity involving commercial cannabis in Nevada, the license holder is subject to investigation by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. Referrals for investigation will be sent by the CCB Executive Director to the Attorney General. Once a referral is made to the Attorney General, the Attorney General’s office shall investigate the suspected violation and determine if the complaint warrants further disciplinary action. If the Attorney General finds that additional action is warranted, the Attorney General will make a report of the investigation to the CCB Executive Director. The Executive Director will then transmit a copy of the investigation findings to the entire CCB. After reviewing the Attorney General’s investigation report, the CCB will vote to either (1) dismiss the complaint or (2) proceed with disciplinary action.
AN OVERVIEW OF CCB DISCIPLINE PROCEEDINGS
If the CCB elects to proceed with discipline against a license holder, the CCB will serve the license holder with a complaint. The complaint will state what acts or omissions by the license holder forms the basis for the complaint. Once served with the complaint, the license holder must respond in writing. Failure to respond to the complaint can result in the license holder being denied the right to a hearing before the CCB, and it can result in the complaint being sustained by the CCB without any input from the license holder. Failure to timely respond to a CCB complaint can also result in the license holder waiving any and all rights to judicial review or appeal.
Once a license holder responds to a CCB complaint, the CCB will schedule a hearing. The CCB hearing must be held within forty-five (45) days of the license holder answering the complaint.
During the hearing, at least three (3) of the five (5) members of the CCB will hear evidence. Both the state and the license holder may call witnesses and present exhibits. At the conclusion of the hearing, the CCB will most likely take the matter under submission and issue a written decision at a later date. The new law regarding CCB procedures requires the CCB to issue a written decision within sixty (60) days of the hearing.
If the CCB finds that a license holder has violated any marijuana statute or regulation, the CCB may impose limitations or conditions on the license holder’s license(s). In addition to imposing limitations or conditions, the CCB will also have the power to suspend or revoke the license. In addition to license sanctions, the CCB will also be empowered to impose a monetary penalty, though the exact limits and maximum amounts are not yet known. As of the time of this posting, Assembly Bill 533 has not yet been codified into the Nevada Revised Statutes, and the related administrative regulations have not yet been promulgated.
OPTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION, JUDICAL REVIEW, AND APPEAL
If the CCB renders an unfavorable decision, the license holder may have options for subsequent review. However, the options for subsequent review are time limited and often complex.
After receiving an unfavorable decision from the CCB, the license holder may have an option to file a motion for rehearing. The license holder may also have an option to have the decision reviewed in court. This is known as judicial review. In addition to judicial review, the license holder may have an option to seek further review by the Nevada Supreme Court. However, it is important to note that there is no option for judicial review or appeal of a decision that is limited to the denial of a license or registration card. The CCB has the exclusive authority to grant or deny a license or registration application.
If you or your business is being investigated for any alleged violation of Nevada’s marijuana laws or related regulations, call The Wright Law Group, P.C. today. Nevada’s marijuana industry is growing, and the processes and regulations regarding licensing and discipline are in a state of transition. The CCB discipline process is new and largely undeveloped; thus, it is important that you consult with a law firm that stays up to date on the latest developments regarding the changing laws and procedures in Nevada. The Wright Law Group, P.C., can help. Our attorneys have several decades of complex litigation and administrative law experience. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients in other administrative proceedings in cases involving asset forfeiture before United States Customs and Border Patrol and cases involving contractor complaints before the Nevada State Contractor’s Board.
The Wright Law Group, P.C.’s team of experienced lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the new and changing rules and regulations of Nevada’s commercial cannabis industry. If you need help or have questions, call us now at (702) 405-0001 to arrange a consultation.