Leases and Medical Marijuana Tenants

  • October 21, 2015

The State of Nevada legalized the use and cultivation of medical marijuana in 2014 and began allowing cannabis businesses to operate in 2015. While California voters approved the use of medical marijuana some two decades ago, California law makers only put into place a regulatory scheme in 2015 thereby allowing dispensaries to operate legally.

Legal-Cannabis-Sensi-Seeds-BlogCannabis law is currently a very fluid and rapidly changing area of law. The legalization of medical marijuana at the state level presents significant conflicts with federal law in numerous areas including drug policy, banking laws, criminal law and so much more. Under federal law, the use, cultivation and sale of marijuana – medical or not – is illegal. As a result of the past war on drugs, federal law provides some very severe penalties for violations of federal drug law, including forfeiture.

The federal government does have the right to seize property used in the cultivation, manufacturing or selling of cannabis. This can include real property where the owner of the real property is merely a landlord who does not participate in the cannabis business. While the federal forfeiture laws do have an “innocent owner defense” many state cannabis laws require the lease to specifically state that the lease is for purposes of cultivation, manufacturing or selling.

As noted above, this is a rapidly changing area of law. Just two days ago the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California issued a ruling (a somewhat scathing decision, in fact), based on the 2015 Appropriations Act, halting the Department of Justice from expending funds to enforce federal laws that interfere with state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Until the conflict between the state and federal laws governing the use and sale of marijuana are entirely resolved, providers of services, goods and property, including landlords (both commercial and in some cases residential) are advised to seek legal counsel and to address new contract and lease provisions such as “escape clauses” and stated compliance with state cannabis law.

Five Ways to Keep Your Divorce Clean

  • October 1, 2015

We have all heard people refer to some divorces as “messy” or “ugly”.  Fortunately, these cases are not the norm but every so often there are cases that are so fueled by anger and vindictiveness that they take inordinate amounts of time, money and emotional energy to get them resolved. Almost every divorce litigant starts off the process expressing a desire to “be amicable”, “stay out of court”, and “keep it clean”. How exactly can that be done? In my experience, following a few simple steps can result in a successful and fair divorce.

  1. Channel Anger. Anger is almost unavoidable in a divorce, but it has its proper time and place. Feel free to vent when necessary to friends, therapists, support groups, and any others who you can rely on to help you work through it. Try to keep your anger out of the negotiations. Question your own motivations behind your proposals. There is an old expression that criminal lawyers see bad people at their best and family law attorneys see good people at their worst. People who are normally pretty mild mannered and kind often default to “scorched earth” when they sense an attack.
  2. Do an Ongoing Cost-benefit Analysis. Although the agreement on the table may leave you with less than you feel a judge would award to you at trial, you have to look at the big picture. Your assessment should take into account the literal cost of fighting — attorney’s fees — as well as the emotional cost of further delays.
  3. Accept Compromise. As Mick Jagger says, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.” After a divorce, no one feels like they’ve “won” and most believe their exes you-cant-always-get-what-you-want“won”. Dissatisfaction is guaranteed when you are dividing one household into two and dividing the time you spend with your children. To cope with the grieving process, try and appreciate, or even enumerate, the compromises you are both making. Everyone feels like he or she is losing out. The trick is ensuring you wind up with what you need in order to move on.
  4. Ignore the Peanut Gallery. Do not listen to your well intentioned neighbor or coworker or friend or family member who knows nothing about the law but is able to rattle off the custody arrangements and support awards that all the people they know have obtained in a variety of courts. Listening to these people will cause you to become insecure. It will make you second guess yourself or feel you’re caving too early or being a sucker. Keep in mind that family law cases are determined on a very factual basis. It is guaranteed that the Peanut Gallery only has limited facts about your case and about the other cases. Nobody knows everything about a marriage except the two people in it. Rely on your friends for emotional support only. Unless they are a family law attorney practicing regularly in your jurisdiction, do not rely on them for legal strategy or advice.
  5. Find the Right Professionals. Retain an attorney and/or a mediator who understands your desire to keep things clean and amicable and agrees to help you try and achieve that goal (assuming your spouse and his or her lawyer are on the same page). Don’t just blindly call lawyers out of the phone book. Talk to others about their experiences with various lawyers and find a lawyer who has a good track record for achieving good results for clients outside of court and who is willing to work with you to keep you on track in your efforts to “keep it clean”.

New Probate Laws in Effect as of October 1, 2015

  • October 1, 2015

The Nevada Legislature has enacted new laws to streamline the probate process for small estates beginning October 1, 2015. These new probate laws will allow executors and administrators of qualifying estates to expedite the probate process and cut down on costs to the estate. probate (1)

Previously, NRS 146.080 allowed a claimant to avoid probate if the estate did not include real property and the value of the estate was less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) by preparing an affidavit in lieu of filing a petition with the probate court. AB 130 amended NRS 146.080 to increase the affidavit limit to twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) for all claimants except the surviving spouse. If the claimant is the surviving spouse, the affidavit limit increased to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00). Additionally, motor vehicles no longer have to be included in the calculation of the size of the estate. This new law will help decrease the costs of administering an estate for those Nevadans that qualify because they will no longer be required file a petition with the court saving attorney’s fees and costs.

The Nevada Legislature also amended NRS 145.040 by increasing the limit for Summary Administration from $200,000 to $300,000. Summary Administration allows for shorter notice periods to creditors and an expedited probate process. Now that expedited process will be available for those estates under $300,000.

These are just some of the changes to probate and estate law made by the Nevada Legislature that went into effect on October 1, 2015. If you have questions or are confused about any of the new probate laws, do not hesitate to contact Incline Law Group to help provide you with legal clarity.