At Manzuri Law, our California cannabis attorneys represent license applicants or current licensees at administrative hearings and appeals during controversies with the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC).
Following the issuance of a citation, the licensee, or person without a license, may choose to contest the disciplinary actions for violation(s) alleged by the DCC. The ability to contest a violation is crucial because if the enforcement action is successful, the DCC can suspend, revoke, deny a license, or place the respective licensee on probation.California cannabis licensees are not required to have an attorney present at an administrative hearing.
However, partnering with an experienced California cannabis administrative hearing and appeals lawyer will help ensure you understand the DCC’s complaint, the administrative hearing process. Certain administrative actions and appeals are only available to annual license holders (and not to provisional license holders), thus it is crucial to have an experienced attorney who can advise you on your legal rights, and options to defend yourself and your business against the penalties related to the alleged violation(s).
What is the DCC Administrative Hearing Process?
The California administrative hearing process for contesting DCC violations begins within 30 days of service of the citation to the cannabis business if the accused submits a written request to the DCC for a hearing.
Once the DCC receives the request for a hearing, it has 15 days from receipt of the written request to hold an informal conference with the licensee or person cited, and/or his or her legal counsel.
The informal conference is an important phase in potentially resolving the citation to affirm, modify, or dismiss the citation, including any fines levied or orders of abatement issued.
A written decision stating the reasons for the decision will be mailed to the cited licensee or person and his or her legal counsel within 15 days of the date of the informal conference.
- If the citation is affirmed the licensee or person may withdraw the request for a hearing or proceed with the administrative hearing process.
- If the citation is modified the citation originally issued will be withdrawn and a new citation issued, which may start the contesting process over.
- If the citation is dismissed, any request for an administrative hearing will be withdrawn.
When an accusation recommending disciplinary action against a licensee has been filed and a hearing is conducted, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presides over the administrative hearing to “determine if cause exists to take action against the licensee.”
During the proceedings, the licensee or individual may object to the accusation in whole or in part by presenting evidence, witness statements, or other specific factors that substantiate their denial of the allegations.
This is where partnering with a skilled administrative hearing attorney is critical to your success. At Manzuri Law, our California cannabis attorneys specialize in demonstrating that our clients have met the state or local laws, ordinances, or regulations necessary to help put the complaint behind them.
Why Do I Need a DCC Administrative Hearing Attorney?
Appearing at an administrative hearing in California does not require legal representation. However, having an experienced cannabis lawyer by your side will allow you to present a stronger case by presenting evidence and substantive details that meet the legal threshold to avoid an unfavorable decision by the ALJ.
Our attorneys will fight to resolve your case in a way that saves your license, protects your operations, and minimizes or eliminates any further disciplinary actions.
Again, if the ALJ sides with the DCC, as the licensee, you may face significant fines, operating restrictions, license suspension, revocation, denial, or a combination of several disciplinary actions.
If you have received a citation or another notice for failure to comply with any DCC guidelines or requirements, all hope is not lost! The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) gives you the right to appeal the fines or decision handed down during California cannabis license administrative hearings.
Additionally, if you have already attended an administrative hearing, your application was denied, and/or you are facing penalties, our attorneys can help you launch an effective appeal with the Cannabis Control Appeals Panel (CCAP).
For over a decade, our California cannabis lawyers at Manzuri Law have provided the legal experience, skill, and resources to help our clients’ cannabis businesses create successful outcomes in state and local administrative hearings and appeals. In some cases, our attorneys were able to have accusations against cannabis companies withdrawn before administrative hearings were even scheduled, saving our clients time, money, and the energy associated with responding to threatening DCC citations.