Marijuana litigation: know your statute of limitations!


Decision in recent circumstances Elevations Plus, LLC v. Riverside City CouncilIn the Eastern District of California, it reminds me of one thing: When conducting administrative litigation, it is always necessary to know the relevant statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the law that determines the due date of a claim. In theory, they are justified and helpful-they are based on the concept that if a person does not take action within a reasonable period of time to assert claims, then these claims should be shelved. After all, the defendant should feel at ease after a period of time. However, sometimes our potential customers come to us months or even weeks too late. In the end, we cannot provide much help because the courts always use this kind of technology to quickly handle cases.

This is the basic timeline of the event Altitude plus: Plaintiff Elevations Plus (“EP”) claimed that it applied for a cannabis retail license in time in August 2017 and paid the required application fees in accordance with Riverbank’s regulatory structure for commercial cannabis activities. At the time, New York City only accepted four applications, and the EP was the fourth. The city government approved two of the first four and then postponed the decision on the EP application.

In January 2018, the City Council approved a six-month suspension of permits to assess the actual progress and performance of the first two approved applicants. In June 2018, the City Council extended the ban for one year. In January 2019, the City Council again extended the ban for another year. In the past two years, the Environmental Protection Agency has been pursuing its construction and site plans for approval. The Municipal Planning Commission even voted unanimously in December 2019 to recommend approval of the Environmental Protection Agency’s application. Then, the city council rejected the EPA’s application in January 2020, indicating that it was concerned about the sustainability of the third cannabis dispensary in the area. However, four months later, New York City voted to approve the development agreement and conditional license for another pharmacy, Canna Mart (proposed to double the size of the business).

It’s frustrating, right? Very convincing, right? EP subsequently sued New York City in June 2020 (more than five months later), claiming that it unfairly denied EP’s ability to advance the licensing process. Unfortunately for EP, because EP failed to file a lawsuit within the 90-day statute of limitations stipulated in Section 65009 of the California State Government Code, the city immediately decided to dismiss the case: “[N]o In any of the following situations, anyone should continue to take action or procedure unless the action or procedure starts and reaches the legislature within 90 days of the decision of the legislature…”

The two parties conducted some statutory analysis. EP believes that Article 65009 does not apply because New York City did not issue an announcement regarding the January 2020 hearing:

“If a public agency wants the provisions of this division to apply to a matter, it should include a notice in any announcement issued under this heading, stating essentially all of the following: “If you question (the nature of the proposed action) in In court, you may be limited to raising questions raised by you or others at the public hearing described in this notice, or submitting it to (the public entity presiding the hearing) in the form of a written letter at or before the public hearing. “Government Code § 65009(b)(2).

However, the court completely rejected EP’s argument and clarified that section 65009(b)(2) does not require any specific form of notice to EP. According to Section 65091 of the Government Code, New York City only needs to mail or deliver the pre-hearing notice at least 10 days before the hearing. Therefore, EP filed a lawsuit at least two months late, and the case had to be dismissed. The court’s decision did not mention the basic facts of the case. This is just the end of the EP road.

We always advise our cannabis customers to keep certain deadlines in their minds in administrative litigation or other aspects, and this is just one example of why this is so important.If you find yourself in a similar situation, please be sure to contact us Litigation team The sooner the better, so as not to make the same mistakes.



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