Attorneys

BANKRUPTCY DEPARTMENT UPDATE – FEBRUARY 2023

Led by Department Chair James G. Aaron, in coordination with partners Joshua S. Bauchner and Anthony J. D’Artiglio, Ansell’s attorneys are well versed in the intricacies of bankruptcy practice. Our bankruptcy attorneys are here to offer the knowledge and advice about the benefits and detriments of the different types of bankruptcy; Chapter 11, Chapter 13, and Chapter 7 proceedings, all of which should be considered prior to any individual or business filing for bankruptcy. Before filing, our attorneys will provide a complete analysis of our client’s assets and guide them through the establishment of an asset protection plan.

The Firm represents numerous national and state banking institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and many local corporate entities in restructuring corporate debt, and represents both creditors and debtors in all proceedings.

In particular, the Firm represents commercial landlords whose tenants file for bankruptcy. The landlord becomes an estate creditor and has numerous, defined rights under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. As set forth below, Ansell recently experienced significant success on behalf of our landlord/creditor clients protecting their interest in realty and securing against abuse of the bankruptcy process by recalcitrant debtors.

The firm also handles state court insolvency matters, an alternative to federal bankruptcy, known as an assignment for the benefit of creditors (“ABC”). Similar to a Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding, an ABC permits a debtor to assign its claims to an assignee — here, an attorney with the Firm appointed by the Court — to pursue preferential and fraudulent claims under state law.

By example, here are some of the Firm’s recent successes in this practice area:

Recovery for Landlord in Debtor’s Attempt to Escape Obligations 

Partner Anthony J. D’Artiglio and Shareholder and department co-chair Joshua S. Bauchner recently secured a favorable decision from the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in the Fairway Group Holdings Corp. matter. Our client, Debtor’s property owner, filed a multi-million-dollar cure objection asserting that Debtor had failed to repair and maintain the property in accord with its lease obligations, and thus needed to make the necessary repairs or pay for the repairs as part of the lease assumption and assignment. Debtor sought to dismiss the cure objection, arguing that the new tenant was responsible for all pre-assignment defects as part of the lease’s ongoing repair and maintenance obligations and that, because property owner did not issue a default notice pre-petition pursuant to a lease provision, property owner could not claim that a “default” existed requiring cure pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code. The Court resoundingly rejected Debtor’s arguments, holding that (i) Debtor is responsible for all necessary pre-assignment repairs pursuant to the lease because the buyer took the property “free and clear” of any and all defaults by Debtor at the time of the assignment, and (ii) landlord was not required to formally notice a “default” under the lease to seek the cost of repairs from Debtor for any pre-assignment condition in need of repair particular where, as here, Debtor was on notice upon the filing of the cure objection.  As a result of this favorable ruling, our client can recover millions of dollars in repair costs.

Conversion to a Chapter 7 and Vacature of Extension of Automatic Stay

The Firm successfully compelled conversion of a meritless Chapter 11 to a Chapter 7 proceeding and convinced the Court to vacate an extension of the automatic stay to the principal’s of the Debtor company. Debtor filed a Chapter 11 petition in the District of New Jersey just before it and its principals were scheduled to face trial in the Western District of Missouri on multi-million dollar fraudulent scheme related to the sale of a business. Led by Joshua S Bauchner and Anthony J. D’Artiglio, the firm successfully convinced the Court to vacate an extension of the automatic stay to the principals of Debtor who sought to utilize the Bankruptcy to shield themselves from liability. Furthermore, we vigorously opposed confirmation of a meritless Plan of Reorganization, culminating in Debtor voluntarily converting its Chapter 11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation requiring the appointment of a Trustee to pursue our client’s and other creditors’ interests. As a result, the adversary complaint and related Bankruptcy matters were dismissed in New Jersey permitting the action to proceed to trial in Missouri.

Protection for Landlord from Tenant Bankruptcy  

Partner Anthony J. D’Artiglio and Shareholder Joshua S. Bauchner secured an extremely favorable settlement on behalf of a property owner whose tenant filed for bankruptcy after failing to make any rent payments over a prolonged period. Following our filing of an application to compel lease rejection or for relief from the automatic stay, the tenant agreed to pay outstanding rent and additional rent, our client’s attorneys’ fees and costs, and to increase the security deposit as a condition of assumption of the lease, ensuring the property owner was not harmed by the tenant’s bankruptcy filing.

Relief for Landlord from Automatic Bankruptcy Stay 

Partner Anthony J. D’Artiglio and Shareholder Joshua S. Bauchner successfully secured relief from the automatic bankruptcy stay for a landlord whose tenant had sublet the property without authorization, failed to pay substantial rent, and additional rent due and owing. We successfully convinced the Court to order the tenant to make post-petition payments on an ongoing basis and to lift the automatic stay to permit the property owner to pursue the tenant for damages and eviction in State Court while the bankruptcy remained pending.

For additional information concerning Ansell’s Bankruptcy Department, please contact us at (973) 247-9000, or email James G. Aaron (jga@ansellgrimm.com), Joshua S. Bauchner (jb@ansellgrimm.com), or Anthony J. D’Artiglio (ajd@ansellgrimm.com).

 

About Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC
Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC was founded in 1929 and has a long history of delivering for clients who come to us to resolve legal matters that are often urgent, stressful, and of great importance. A general practice law firm, Ansell Grimm & Aaron is powered by experienced attorneys who understand that the best outcome is the one that serves the needs of each client.

The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Transmission of the materials and information contained herein is not intended to create, and receipt thereof does not constitute the formation of, an attorney-client relationship. Attorney advertising.

 

Ansell Clients Secure Cannabis Licenses

Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC is proud to congratulate its clients for securing cannabis licenses from the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission at the October 27, 2022 meeting:

  • DMW Holdings, LLC – Manufacturing License
  • Arbory Wellness, LLC – Dispensary License
  • Canopy Crossroad – Dispensary License

Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC October 2022 Cannabis Law Update

Joshua S. Bauchner flanked by his Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC colleagues, as he was recently honored as one of the “Innovators of the Year” by the New Jersey Law Journal.
Joshua S. Bauchner, center, flanked by his Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC colleagues, was recently honored by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of its “Innovators of the Year” for 2022. Bauchner is a leading voice in the legal cannabis community, aiding clients in navigating state regulations to find success in the growing cannabis marketplace.

CRC Issues Guidance On WIRES;  Raises More Questions Than Answers

On September 9, 2022, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) issued long-awaited guidance regarding workplace impairment arising from cannabis use. While the guidance does not address all the issues that employers have faced in recent years, it does provide some needed clarity.

By way of background, on February 22, 2021, Governor Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) into law. In addition to legalizing the use of marijuana for anyone aged 21 and over, CREAMMA prohibited employers from taking adverse employment action against an employee, such as termination, solely “due to the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the employee’s bodily fluid.” In other words, under CREAMMA, a positive drug test result for marijuana is insufficient for an employer to conclude that an employee is impaired and to take disciplinary action. Instead, CREAMMA requires the employer to use a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert (“WIRE”) to conduct “a physical evaluation in order to determine an employee’s state of impairment.”

However, CREAMMA did not establish what credentials, experience, or training a WIRE would need and instead directed the CRC to design and implement a certification process. After much delay, the CRC finally published some guidance to assist employers. While the new guidance does not formulate and approve standards for WIRE certification, it does state that a positive drug test result combined with “evidence-based documentation of physical signs or other evidence of impairment during an employee’s prescribed work hours may be sufficient to support an adverse employment action.”

While WIRE certification is unavailable, the CRC recommends that employers “[d]esignate an interim staff member to assist with making determinations of suspected cannabis use during an employee’s prescribed work hours.” The designated employee “[s]hould be sufficiently trained to determine impairment and qualified to complete [a] Reasonable Suspicion Observation Report [which is a form created by the CRC].”

The report should document “the behavior, physical signs, and evidence that support the employer’s determination that an employee is reasonably suspected of being under the influence during an employee’s prescribed work hours.” The CRC recommends that a second person in addition to the observer, such as a manager or supervisor, be involved as well. Employers should consider using “cognitive impairment test, a scientifically valid, objective, consistently repeatable, standardized automated test of an employee’s impairment, and/or an ocular scan, as physical signs or evidence to establish reasonable suspicion of cannabis use or impairment at work.”

Although this guidance is helpful in some respects, it still leaves employers with much uncertainty. The best course of action is for the CRC to adopt WIRE certification standards as soon as possible as the Legislature intended with the passage of CREAMMA.

Ansell Expands Cannabis Law Practice Group

The Firm added a number of new attorneys to the Practice Group to best serve clients in this multidisciplinary field.  Kelsey Barber has taken the lead on applications, Irina Moin is assisting with corporate formation, structure, and governance, and Melanie Scroble and David Lang represent cannabis clients with commercial real estate needs, including leasing, site acquisition, and zoning.  Rahool Patel also continues to represent clients in litigation matters, including the still ongoing (and successful) appeal of the 2018 Request for Applications, as well as challenges to municipalities for failing to employ objective criteria in awarding resolutions of support to prospective state applicants.

As a full-service law firm, Ansell attorneys are able to bring their collective experience and skills to serve every client need in this ever-growing, and ever-changing, area of the law.

The NJSBA will conduct a seminar on the latest developments in cannabis law on Oct. 26.

Second Circuit Holds Classifying Cannabis As A Schedule I Narcotic Is Irrational; Does Nothing About It

According to a ruling recently handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance without medical utility isn’t unconstitutional, but it is “irrational.”

In the matter of United States of America v. Green, Nos. 19-997(L), 19-1027 (Con), __F.4th__ , 2022 WL 3903654 (2d Cir. Aug. 31, 2022), defendants were charged by the United States District Court for the Western District of New York with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B) and 846. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the narcotics conspiracy count on the grounds that the classification of marijuana under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act violates their Fifth Amendment due process and equal protection rights, and that marijuana’s scheduling has no rational basis because it does not meet the statutory criteria for inclusion on Schedule I. The District Court therein denied defendants’ motion, finding they incorrectly sought to tether the rational basis inquiry to the statutory criteria.

On appeal the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision, determining:

“[T]he Act’s scheduling criteria are largely irrelevant to our constitutional review because the rational basis test asks only whether Congress could have any conceivable basis for including marijuana on the strictest schedule. Because there are other plausible considerations that could have motivated Congress’s scheduling of marijuana, we conclude that its classification does not violate the [plaintiffs’] due process or equal protection rights.

While the Judges acknowledged that defendants “convincingly argued that it is irrational for the government to maintain that marijuana has no accepted medical use,” they ruled that defendants were required to “do more than show that the legislature’s stated assumptions are irrational; [they] must discredit any conceivable basis which could be advanced to support the challenged provision, regardless of whether that basis has a foundation in the record, or actually motivated the legislature.”

While disheartening, the Second Circuit’s ruling is consistent with other federal courts’ refusal to strike Schedule I classification, reasoning instead that it is the responsibility of federal lawmakers, not federal courts to repeal the prohibition on marijuana.

Psilocybin May Be Next On The List Of Legalized Substances In NJ

In recent years, efforts to decriminalize and legalize the use of psilocybin (colloquially known as “hallucinogenic mushrooms”) for medical, recreational and scientific purposes has been advancing rapidly. In the State of New Jersey, the potential passage of the “Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Act” (the “Psilocybin Behavioral Act”), introduced by Senate President, Nick Scutari in June of 2022 would see such legalization and sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms in New Jersey businesses and medical facilities, similar to the State’s recent success in recreational cannabis facilities.

If passed, the Psilocybin Behavioral Act would authorize the production of psilocybin for therapeutic use under a controlled environment, and decriminalize and expunge past convictions for certain psilocybin related conduct, including possession.

Although the Psilocybin Behavioral Act posits itself as mental health, rather than revenue generation for the State, it does take some inspiration from the current Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act. Specifically, applicants will be eligible to pursue four different types of licenses, including, a psilocybin product manufacturer, psilocybin service center operator, psilocybin testing laboratory, and psilocybin service facilitator, as well as a psilocybin worker permit.

Ansell Launches Psychedelics Practice

On the heels of its successful cannabis practice, which has included numerous granted licenses for its clients as well as successes in Court litigating cannabis matters, the Firm is excited to announce it is expanding into the realm of psychedelics.

The Firm has an established record in the cannabis space enabling us to serve our clients unlike any other area law firm. By example, we co-hosted the first-ever Cannabis Symposium in New Jersey which drew nearly a thousand people (two other Symposia followed). Joshua S. Bauchner, head of the practice group, is co-chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Cannabis Law Committee, has spoken at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo at the Jacob Javits Center, and has presented CLE’s on cannabis at the NY and NJ State Bar Associations, and at the NORML Legal Conference in Aspen, among other fora across the country.

The Firm also recently was honored by the New Jersey Cannabis Insider as one of three finalists for Excellence in Cannabis Law and has been covered by numerous media outlets and published on the topic.

Now, with the federal government and many states looking to legalize psychedelics, Ansell is expanding the practice to include this emerging area of law. Please contact us at (973) 247-9000 if you are interested in exploring opportunities.

Biden Administration Open to Health Department Role in Potential Use of Psychedelic Therapies

The Biden Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is actively anticipating that the FDA will approve psychedelic therapies — using psilocybin and MDMA — in the next two years, leading the way for alternative mental health treatments on a federal level.

The plan was revealed in a document coined the “May letter,” a correspondence sent by Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Miriam Delphin-Rittmon to Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa.

Dean had contacted HHS and proposed an interagency task force to lead a public-private partnership to address issues associated with anticipated approval by the FDA of MDMA for the treatment of PTSD and psilocybin for depression “within approximately 24 months,” the letter notes.

Delphin-Rittmon responded:

“SAMHSA agrees that too many Americans are suffering from mental health and substance use issues, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that we must explore the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapies to address this crisis.”

Delphin thereafter confirmed that SAMHSA was exploring the prospect of establishing a Federal Task Force to monitor and address the numerous complex issues associated with emerging substances including the private sector, and that “collaboration across federal agencies with outside stakeholders will be the most effective way to ensure we are thoughtfully coordinating work on emerging substances.”

The letter marks an about-face from decades of federal drug policy, which classified psychedelics like MDMA and psilocybin as Schedule I narcotics, with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

 


About Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC
Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC was founded in 1929 and has a long history of delivering for clients who come to us to resolve legal matters that are often urgent, stressful, and of great importance. A general practice law firm, Ansell Grimm & Aaron is powered by experienced attorneys who understand that the best outcome is the one that serves the needs of each client.

About the Cannabis Law Practice
Among the leading cannabis firms on the East Coast, we work with cannabis entrepreneurs, industrial hemp producers, ancillary businesses and governing bodies seeking regulatory counsel.

The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Transmission of the materials and information contained herein is not intended to create, and receipt thereof does not constitute the formation of, an attorney-client relationship. Attorney advertising.

 

September 2022 Newsletter

Klein Helping Clients with Property Sales and Acquisitions Across the State

Jason S. Klein, Esq. (a) assisted a client in the acquisition of a 200-plus unit multifamily complex located in Morris County, through a membership interest purchase, which also included assistance with financing from a large regional bank and multiple 1031 exchanges; (b) assisted a client in the disposition of retail center on the boardwalk in Cape May county; (c) assisted a client in the sale and simultaneous disposition of a property in located on Route 22 in Somerset County; and (d) represented a client in the simultaneous acquisition of two retail properties in Monmouth County, from two (2) separate owners and assisted with negotiating  and closing the acquisition financing in connection therewith with a large New Jersey-based bank.

 

Come See Us at the CAI Expo on October 20

The Community Association Practice Group will be exhibiting at the New Jersey Community Associations 2022 Annual Conference & Expo on October 20.
The 2022 CAI Conference & Expo will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Event Center @ iPlay America located at 110 Schanck Road, Freehold, NJ.
CAI’s Annual Conference & Expo provides learning and networking opportunities for homeowners, managers, and business partners. Registration is free for all homeowners and community association managers and includes complimentary breakfast and lunch, educational programs, and multiple chances to win $1,000 during the show (must be present to win).
When you are at the expo, please visit us at Booth #823. You can also contact David J. Byrne, Esq. if you wish to set up a meeting with one of our attorneys while you are at the conference.

 

Brodsky Wins Approval for Projects Across Monmouth County

Zoning and Land Use Department co-chair Rick Brodsky, Esq. had a very productive summer winning approval for several projects before municipal boards throughout the county.

In June, the Shrewsbury Land Use Board voted unanimously to grant Use Variance and site plan approval, permitting the Applicant, Restore Hyper Wellness, to operate a health and wellness facility for customers seeking general wellness and anti-aging services and athletic recovery, including natural reduction of inflammation at 1079 Broad St. In July The Marlboro Township Zoning Board voted unanimously to grant variance and site plan approval permitting the Waitt Funeral Home to undertake significant renovations, upgrades and additions to its existing, long-standing building on Route 79.

Also in July, the Ocean Township Zoning Board, unanimously approved the application of Gold Coast Cadillac, granting site plan approval, with variances, permitting the renovation/expansion of the existing Cadillac car dealership on Route 35.

In August, the Long Branch Planning Board adopted the Resolution of Approval for its July unanimous decision to permit a four-lot Major subdivision application from Chelsea LLC.

 

Moin, Oliver, and Sherman Join Ansell Grimm & Aaron

Three new attorneys, Irina Moin, Esq., Jonathan Sherman, Esq., and Leigh Oliver, Esq., have joined the firm. Ms. Moin is licensed to practice in NY and NJ and will be joining both the Corporate Finance and Banking Department and Cannabis Law Department.

Ms. Oliver is a new associate in the Family Law practice and Mr. Sherman is working in the Commercial Real Estate Department.

 

Bauchner Receives New Jersey Law Journal Innovator of the Year Award, Appointed to NJSBA Foundation Committees

Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. has been named one of the New Jersey Law Journal’s “Innovators of the Year” for 2022. Bauchner is one of just four attorneys in the state selected for the honor.

Bauchner also has been appointed by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation to the Publication Oversight Committee and the Editorial Advisory Board of the Respect Newsletter for 2022-23 by Foundation President Kathleen N. Fennelly, Esq.

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation is committed to the principle that public understanding of our legal system is essential to preserving the liberties that are fundamental to our democracy.

 

 

Shapiro and Barber Win Relief Against Prospective Buyer’s False Claim

Through, targeted discovery, Lawrence Shapiro, Esq. and Kelsey Barber, Esq. succeeded in having a contract buyer dismiss its complaint to enforce a contract of sale and discharge a Lis Pendens recorded against AGA’s client’s commercial property. Plaintiff Lebanon 123, LLC sought to compel Kullman Associates, LLC to sell real property known as the Kullman Corporate Campus in Lebanon, New Jersey for $13,500,000.

Kullman terminated the contract and refused to transfer title claiming that Plaintiff failed to meet its contractual obligations, including fully funding the deposit. Despite representations from the title company escrow agent that the deposit was received, AGA’s strategic discovery uncovered evidence that the deposit was never fully funded and, in fact, what had been funded was returned to Plaintiff, even before the suit was filed. AGA then moved for summary judgment and put Plaintiff on notice of their claims being frivolous which resulted in Plaintiff voluntarily dismissing its complaint and freeing the property for Kullman’s use and remarketing.

 

Bauchner to Moderate NJSBA Cannabis Law seminar

Joshua Bauchner, Esq. and Lisa Gora, Esq. of Epstein Becker & Green, PC will moderate a discussion on the latest developments in cannabis law at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, on October 26.

The topics covered in the seminar include:

  •  Psychedelics — The New Cannabis
  •  Cannabis in NJ Towns: Municipal and Local Applicant Perspectives
  •  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

There will also be a Q & A session The event runs from 2-5 p.m. and a companion webcast will be available online. Attendees can receive Continuing Legal Education credit for NJ, PA, and NY. Information on the credits provided is available on the event registration page.

A happy hour will follow at the Law Center, after which the NJSBA Cannabis Law Committee, which Bauchner and Gora co-chair, will convene.

 

Court Case Corrects Planning Board Denial

Litigation Department co-chair Lawrence Shapiro, Esq. succeeded in overturning the Planning Board of the Borough of Rumson’s denial of an application to subdivide property into two developable lots.

In overcoming the Board’s decision on behalf of the applicant, Michael McCarty, Shapiro demonstrated that the Board had erred in siding with objecting neighbors in refusing to grant minimal variances of lot circle, front yard setback, and lot width/frontage.

Notably, the Court reversed the Board’s decision resulting in the approval of the subdivision, with variances, on behalf of the applicant. In doing so, the Court found the Board’s reasoning to be a “sham” for its desire to maintain larger lot sizes in the zone.

 

Rosenstein Wins Long Court Battle to Protect Client

Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC was retained by a trucking and rigging company after one of its employees sustained substantial injuries on a jobsite. Despite the project being covered by an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP), the contractor that retained our client failed to notify our client of the OCIP and did not enroll our client in the program. Making matters worse, our client’s insurance brokers failed to identify and advise the client about an exclusion in its commercial general liability policy that contained an “Absolute Employee and Worker Injury and Liability Exclusion endorsement,” leaving our client vulnerable to the claims asserted in the action. While our client was shielded against direct liability from the plaintiffs, the employee filed an action against the other entities involved in the project — some of whom subsequently filed a third-party action against our client.

Seth Rosenstein, Esq. of AGA’s litigation practice group handled this matter, aggressively defending the action and adding the client’s insurance brokers as fourth-party defendants on the basis that but for their negligence, the client would not have been left without insurance coverage for third-party action claims. After over four years of litigation, our efforts resulted in an ideal settlement whereby our client did not contribute any funds to the settlement and received a global release from all parties involved.

NJSBA to Honor Judge Mellaci

The Honorable Anthony J. Mellaci, Jr., retired Superior Court Judge, currently serving as Of Counsel with Ansell Grimm & Aaron will be honored by the New Jersey State Bar Association as Monmouth County’s Daniel J. O’Hern Professionalism Award winner.

The O’Hern Award is presented annually to an attorney who is a well-respected member of the legal community and exhibits integrity, competence, high ethical standards, career achievement and service to the bar and/or community. The award is named for the Honorable Daniel J. O’Hern, a retired associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and lifelong Monmouth County resident, who was an advisor to the Commission from its inception in 1996 until his passing in 2009.

Judge Mellaci is slated to receive the award at the NJSB’s July 19 luncheon at the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe.

Cannabis Law Update — June 2022

MINI-ROUNDTABLE: Q&A Report with Cannabis Industry Experts and Advocates

Financier Worldwide Magazine, publisher of the quarterly e-magazine, Corporate Disputes, reached out to Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s Cannabis Law Practice Chair, Joshua Bauchner , to participate in a special Q&A report titled, “Cannabis Regulation and the Litigation Landscape.” This report is available online and registration is free. Please click HERE to view the latest edition.

 

 

The Cannabis Law Practice Continues Training Through the National Business Institute on July 19

The National Business Institute (NBI) is hosting a speaker event titled, “Marijuana Business Law in New Jersey.” NBI is an organization dedicated to providing continuing education and learning for professional. Joshua Bauchner will cover the following topics: Application Procedures: Avoiding Mistakes Grounds for License Refusal, License Renewals, License Transfers, Appealing Application Denials. This will be presented as a LIVE Online Seminar. Please click HERE for registration information.

 

 

Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC Celebrates at New Jersey’s First- Ever Cannabis Industry Awards Gala

Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC attended the New Jersey Cannabis Insider Awards Gala as an “Excellence in Cannabis Law” nominee on June 9, 2022. The Cannabis Awards Gala marked New Jersey’s first-ever cannabis industry awards event. A few hundred thought-leaders and supporters gathered at the Carteret Performing Arts Center to recognize 24 businesses for their excellence in the Cannabis industry.

 

 

 

CWCBExpo: A B2B Tradeshow To Remember

Ansell Grimm & Aaron (AG&A), PC attended the CWCBExpo at the Javit’s Center during its 3-day cannabis industry event. New York is rapidly becoming one of the largest cannabis economic sectors. AG&A met with industry leaders and demonstrated our firm’s commitment to diverse and inclusive business practices.

 

 

Joshua S. Bauchner Speaks at The NORML Aspen Legal Seminar

 

The NORML Aspen Legal Seminar was held at the Gant Hotel from June 2 to June 4 in Colorado. Joshua Bauchner joined a cadre of presenters from across the nation who shared their insights on important issues in cannabis law in this fully accredited legal seminar. Timely topics included: The Admissibility of Digital Evidence, Social Equity in NY & NJ; Marijuana and Child Custody Issues; Attorney Fees In Criminal Cases; Overcoming Racial Bias When Representing a Black Defendant; Ethical Considerations in Representing the Cannabis Industry Client; The Future of Cannabis; and Annual Review of Important 4th Amendment Decisions.

 

NJSBA Cannabis Law Committee Co-Chairs Reappointed for 2022-2023 Term

 

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) is instrumental in providing members with training and information. NJSBA announced its reappointment of Joshua Bauchner, Esq. and Lisa Gora, Esq. as the Co-Chairs of its Cannabis Law Committee. In their role as co-chairs, Josh and Lisa also moderated cannabis panels at the NJSBA Annual Convention in Atlantic City.

 

 

Athletes In Cannabis Conference Creates Community

The Athletes in Cannabis NY/NJ Regional Tradeshow was held on May 6 – 7, 2022 at the Hilton Newark Airport. Joshua Bauchner of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC was the Keynote Speaker and gave a poignant “State of the Cannabis” speech on Friday morning. This 2-day event allowed individuals from growers to cannabis lending companies to interact with retired members of the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Those in attendance shared a passion for the industry and a commitment to building long-lasting and genuine connections.

David J. Byrne to Present at CAI Webinar on April 20

David J. Byrne Esq., Chair of Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s Community Association Law Group, will be a featured presenter at the Community Associations Institute of New Jersey’s Wednesday, April 20th, Webinar.

The one-hour webinars focus on important issues affecting the rights, operations, and business of common interest communities.  Mr. Byrne’s presentation, on April 20th, will focus on the rights of — and strategies available to — community associations facing the demands of owners and/or residents who claim to be disabled, including those who seek accommodations with respect to animals characterized as service or emotional support

Registration is free and currently open for all CAI-NJ members via the CAI-NJ website. Community association managers will receive 1 CEU credit for attending.

Six Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC attorneys named Super Lawyers

We are pleased to announce that six attorneys from the firm have been selected to the 2022 New Jersey Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.*

Selected as Super Lawyers again this year are Allison Ansell, Mitchell J.  Ansell, and Andrea B. White.

Named as Rising Stars this year are Alfred M. Caso,  Ashley V. Whitney, and Nicole D. Miller. This is Caso’s first selection, Whitney’s second, and Miller’s fourth consecutive selection as a Rising Star.

Each year, no more than 5% of lawyers in the state are selected to the Super Lawyers list, and no more than 2.5% are selected to the Rising Stars list.

The list of New Jersey Super Lawyers is based on surveys of more than 35,000 lawyers across the state who have been licensed to practice for five years or more.

 

*No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court.

Cannabis Law Update

Excellence in Cannabis Law – NJCannabis Insider 2022 Business Awards

After enduring two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, states have begun dropping their most stringent restrictions and in-person events are slowly returning to the cannabis industry. On June 9, 2022, NJ Cannabis Insider will host New Jersey’s first-ever cannabis business awards gala at the Carteret Performing Arts Center. Businesses including Ansell Grimm & Aaron, have been nominated for their achievements in the field of law, social equity, building, innovation, and consultancy. Voting is open until March 31 at 11:59PM, and votes can be submitted once per day, per email address. The ballot can be found here. Please consider voting for us!

 

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Social Equity in the Municipal Landscape

NJ Bankruptcy AttorneyJoshua Bauchner, a Partner serving as both Co-Chair of the Litigation Department and head of the Cannabis Law Practice group, was featured in a March 15, 2022 article for Law360 that discusses the challenges faced by social equity applicants as they navigate the patchwork of Municipal regulations across New Jersey. The article sheds light on how various aspects of the municipal approval process are incompatible with CREAMMA’s social equity goals and explores how the two might be brought into alignment. A copy of the article can be found here.

 

 

Athletes in Cannabis Regional Tradeshow

The Athletes in Cannabis NY/NJ Regional Tradeshow will be held May 6 – 7, 2022 at the Hilton Newark Airport. During this conference, there will be opportunities to meet with retired members of the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, as well as growers, suppliers, retailers and more within t he hemp, medical, and adult-use cannabis spaces. There will also be an opportunity to hear from Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s very own, Joshua Bauchner. In addition to the two day conference, a networking soiree will be held at the end of the day on May 6th. Tickets for the event can be found here

 

 

 

4th Annual Cannabis Symposium

On April 28, 2022, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee will host its 4th Annual Cannabis Symposium. The Program will be moderated by Joshua Bauchner of Ansell Grimm & Aaron and Michael Schaff of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer. This will be an excellent opportunity to hear from industry leaders on all things legal within New Jersey’s cannabis industry. Topics will include capital markets, labor & employment, hemp, and social equity solutions amongst other things. You will also hear from Chairwoman Dianna Houenou and Chief Counsel Christopher Riggs of New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission. You can register to attend the symposium in person here or via webcast here

CBA Cannabis Law Section Appointments

Attorney Zachary Windham, of Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s Cannabis Law Practice group, will take on the role of Chair for the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Section. The CBA’s Cannabis Law Section was one of the first in the country, as Colorado was and is a leader in the cannabis space nationally, both in terms of industry participants and regulatory developments.

 

 

 

 

Cannabis Regulatory Commission Public Meeting

On Thursday March 24, 2022 at 1:00PM, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting open to the public. At the meeting the Commission will consider delegating authority for orders to recall or destroy adult-use cannabis items or medicinal cannabis items, as well as for certain applications for facility modifications. The Commission will also consider applications for an adult-use conditional license. On the medical side, the Commission will also consider reissuance of a 2019 RFA award for a medicinal dispensary permit and expanded ATC certifications. The link to attend the meeting can be found here. Attendees can register to speak before 9:00AM on March 24th here.

 

 

NJ Medical Pot Hopefuls Say Agency Snubbed Court Ruling

Law360 recently reported on Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC’s challenge to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s decisions on remand after the Commission’s initial decisions were reversed by the Appellate Division on November 25, 2020. Below is the article.


By Sarah Jarvis

Medical marijuana permit applicants have urged a New Jersey appellate court to direct the state’s cannabis regulators to award them licenses to operate facilities, arguing the agency failed to change a single score after an appellate panel remanded the matter over the state’s flawed scoring system.

In Wednesday filings with the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division, applicant GGB New Jersey LLC said the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission doubled down on previous flawed scoring and didn’t adjust any scores after GGB and other applicants made “comprehensive supplemental submissions” challenging the commission’s scores and their scoring process. The CRC also ignored concerns previously raised by the appellate court about a substantial degree of relative error “by declaring the concept inapplicable to its selection process,” GGB said.

“The commission asserted that the scoring is what it says it is and, strikingly, is beyond judicial review,” GGB said. “The commission’s cursory review also focused on only two of the numerous scoring criteria challenged by appellants, and either rehashed the same arguments that had already been rejected by this court or ignored appellants’ other arguments.”

GGB and the other appellants are seeking an order directing the CRC to award them licenses to operate alternative treatment centers, or medical marijuana dispensaries. Alternatively, they want the matter remanded to the CRC with the appointment of a special master to conduct an investigation, per the company’s filings.

Counsel for GGB called the CRC’s ruling on remand ridiculous and said the company coordinated with other appellants to file nearly identical briefs, but it wasn’t immediately clear Friday which parties had also lodged filings.

The companies had alleged in their initial appeal that the scoring process was inconsistent and arbitrary. The applications were scored on a 1000-point scale by a panel of six unnamed officials from the Department of Health and two other state departments, according to court records.

The appealing companies that received their scores after they were rejected found that the scores were hard to parse, with some judges giving full marks in sections where another judge gave zero points. The numbers were averaged, and the total score determined where the applicant fell in the ranking, so the zeroes brought the scores down dramatically, the companies said.

Once a score was awarded, there was no opportunity to challenge it, according to the companies.

In November 2020, a panel from the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division handed down its decision in eight combined appeals from companies that failed to make the cut for the six dispensary licenses the state awarded in 2018. The panel said there were serious problems with the way regulators scored the applications and sent officials back to reconsider the applications of rejected companies, but didn’t specifically tell regulators how to handle the applications after the remand or how to change the application process.

But GGB argued Wednesday that the CRC carried out “a superficial exercise seeking only to justify its own prior, flawed conclusions without actually abiding by the court’s instructions or addressing any of the appellants’ concerns.” Last month, the CRC issued new final agency decisions reaffirming the denials issued to the appellants in the 2018 decisions.

“Despite this court’s opinion and the supplemental submissions, the commission concluded that the process this court found unacceptable had been free from error,” GGB said. “As a result, the commission continues to deprive appellants of due process and neither the public nor this court can have confidence in the commission’s licensing process and the final agency decisions it has reached.”

GGB argued among other things that a recommendation report issued last month by the CRC lacks substantive analysis of the scoring issues the appellants had raised, including “wildly divergent scores and/or zero or low scores” the appellants said were unwarranted compared to the high marks successful applicants received.

“This court should not have to act again in this matter, but the commission has proven that it cannot — and will not — conduct a full and fair review of appellants’ applications,” GGB said. “The commission has proven by its own actions that a further remand will be futile because the agency apparently regards itself as beyond the jurisdiction of this court.”

A representative of the CRC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

GGB New Jersey LLC is represented by Joshua S. Bauchner and Rahool Patel of Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC.

Counsel information for the CRC and other applicants wasn’t immediately available Friday.

The case is In the Matter of Application of Medicinal Marijuana Alternative Treatment Center of GGB New Jersey LLC, case number A-2219-18T4, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

–Editing by Dave Trumbore.