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California’s Cannabis Control Appeals Panel

We end our series on the state’s pot regulations with a look at the administrative panel that will hear appeals from adverse licensing decisions. There, you’re entitled to a fair and impartial review of whether your regulator treated you right; whether its decision was supported by its findings; and whether its findings were supported by substantial evidence in light of the record as a whole.

To get there, you must file a notice of appeal within sixty days (or so) of the agency’s decision. Then you have sixty more days to gather the complete administrative record from the hearing. Within thirty days of that, you may file an opening brief (and you should), and within 15 days of that, the other side may file an opposition brief. If they do, you’ll have seven days to reply.

Once the case is fully briefed, the panel will issue a preliminary decision. At that point, any side can request a hearing, or the panel may schedule one itself; otherwise it will enter its preliminary decision as a final order. If there’s a hearing, each side will have up to twenty minutes to make its case. Either way, the panel will enter its final order within ninety days of the hearing or its preliminary decision.

Importantly, you can ask the panel to stay the agency’s discipline until it decides your case. But to get that, you must be able to show three things: a substantial likelihood you’ll win on appeal; that you’ll suffer immediate, irreparable harm without a stay; and that a stay is not detrimental to the health and welfare of the public.

Alternatively, you can ask the panel to give you a new trial, so to speak, because you have new evidence you couldn’t have discovered or presented before.

All of this is new, by the way, so the panel hasn’t decided any cases yet.

But it will.

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