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July 20, 2017

SORNA Registration Held to be Unconstituional when Applied Retroactively

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the retroactive application of Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) violates the ex post facto clauses of both the United State Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution. People who were convicted of a sexual offense before SORNA became effective in December 2012 are subject to the Megan’s Law registration requirements that were in...

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July 19, 2017

The Medical Marijuana Act in PA and Employment

The Medical Marijuana Act in Pennsylvania prohibits patients under the influence of medical marijuana from performing employment duties at heights or in confined spaces. 35 P.S. § 10231.510(2). Also, in regards to employment of patients, employers have discretionary authority in certain instances. An employer may prohibit a patient who is under the influence of marijuana from performing any duty the employer deems life threatening to the patient, the employer, or other employees. 35 P.S. § 10231.510(3). Employers can also prohibit patients under the influence...

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July 13, 2017

The Need to Know for Potential Medical Marijuana Patients in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act provides the guidelines to obtaining medical marijuana. Under the Act, medical marijuana can only be dispensed to a patient who “receives a certification from a practitioner and is in possession of a valid identification card issued by the department,” and also to caregivers who have a valid identification card. 35 P.S. § 10231.303. The caregiver is someone the patient designates as authorized to deliver medical marijuana to him or her. 35 P.S. § 10231.103. The caregiver is subject to a criminal background check and the application of the caregiver...

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Posted in: Medical Marijuana

July 10, 2017

Medical Marijuana Growing Licenses Granted

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has issued 12 licenses for medical marijuana growers. The winners of the bids included many wealthy and powerful business firms. The medical marijuana industry is not for people with small bank accounts. There is a non-refundable application fee of $10,000 in addition to a permit fee for growers of $200,000. This permit fee is refundable if you are not awarded the license. The permit is only valid for one year, but the growers can apply to renew their permit for an additional $10,000 each year, which will be refunded if the renewal is not granted. In...

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Posted in: Medical Marijuana

September 30, 2016

The SCOTUS recently addressed several issues that will impact blood alcohol testing in Pennsylvania Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ___ (2016)

This decision consolidates three appeals dealing with petitioners’ refusal to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, either via breathalyzer or drawn blood. Case 1: A North Dakota state trooper arrested Birchfield for driving while impaired. He told Birchfield that refusing to take a blood test would expose him to criminal penalties. Birchfield refused and was convicted. On appeal to the state court, he argued that the Fourth Amendment prohibited criminalizing his refusal to submit to the blood test. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the conviction. Held: Birchfield was...

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Posted in: Driving under the influence (DUI)