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Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act was enacted in May 2016 (the “Act”). Under the Act, patients with serious medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and severe chronic or intractable pain, are authorized to use medical marijuana to treat their condition after obtaining a certification from a physician and an identification card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Medical marijuana may only be issued to an individual or an individual’s caregiver who has received the certification and identification card. Medical marijuana may not be smoked and may only be dispensed in certain enumerated forms.

Continue Reading What Does PA’s Medical Marijuana Act Mean for My Company?

In Pennsylvania, residential and commercial lease agreements are governed not only by the terms of the lease itself, but also by the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, 68 P.S. §§ 250.101, et. seq.

When a lease term ends, the landlord is required to provide a tenant with a list of damages caused to the premises within thirty days of the termination of the lease or repossession of the property.

In addition, the landlord must return any escrow monies held under the lease within that time period. If the landlord deducts any funds to pay for alleged damages to the premises, then the landlord must return the difference in the balance of the escrow funds to the tenant.

Continue Reading Landlords Risk Exposure to Double Damages in Suits by Tenants

Gone are the days of having to buy a whole case of beer or a keg at a beer distributor in Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1196 into law, which will allow beer distributors to sell six-packs to customers.

What does this mean for beer distributors, retailers, and consumers in Pennsylvania? Among other things, earlier retail sales hours. Retail licensees can begin selling on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. rather than 11:00 a.m. Sporting venues can sell mixed drinks. Breweries can sell products of other licensed breweries, limited wineries, limited distilleries, and distilleries without having to secure a brewery pub license. A person licensed in another state may apply for a license to ship beer to customers, with certain restrictions. Distributor licensees can sell malt or brewed beverages in any amount to an unlicensed customer for off-premises consumption. This includes four-packs, 32-ounce bottles, growlers, and six-packs.

This is another win for distributors who, earlier this year, the PLCB declared that they were permitted to sell 12-packs of beer. The new law goes into effect in 60 days.

An individual who is out of work in Pennsylvania may qualify for unemployment compensation benefits through the state government. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits is responsible for processing benefit requests and determining whether you are eligible to receive benefits.

Continue Reading Out-of-Work Employees Can Seek Unemployment Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania

We’ve entered a new era in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation into law that allows wine sales in licensed private establishments in the Commonwealth. Under the law grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, and takeout beer licensees are permitted to sell up to four bottles of takeout wine per customer. This is exciting news for Pennsylvanians as the sale of wine in grocery stores has not been permitted since before Prohibition.

The law also permits wine wholesalers to ship wine directly to consumers in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth’s Wine & Spirits Stores can expand their hours of operation on Sundays and holidays, and are given more freedom in setting prices. Casinos will also be able to apply to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The law goes into effect in August, and is estimated to bring in $150 million to the Commonwealth in the first year.

New licensing procedures will be established by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) in response to the legislation. Existing licensees, and businesses seeking new licenses, should prepare for licensing changes related to the sale of wine, direct shipment of wine, and casinos that wish to sell wine around the clock.

This is a big win for anyone who sells wine or lives in Pennsylvania. The law opens a whole new market for businesses to expand their sales and brings needed convenience to Pennsylvania residents.

Cyber security has become a growing concern for individuals and businesses across the nation. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard about breaches at Target, Wal-Mart, J.P. Morgan Chase, Home Depot, Apple, and Neiman Marcus. Hundreds of thousands of people had their names, social security numbers, financial information, and other sensitive data stolen and used unlawfully.

Theft of consumer information via the internet happens every day from any number of data or network systems to all types of people. It’s not just individuals or big box stores that are targeted. Cyber-attacks are directed at various organizations that keep clients’ and customers’ personal information on record. Hackers will look to small businesses, and even to a person’s home management company or homeowners’ association, to access their sensitive personal and financial information.

Continue Reading Your Business Could Be Liable for Cyber Security Breaches

If you were previously convicted of a crime and served your time, this will show up on your criminal record. Most employers require each job applicant undergo a criminal record check, which can mean the difference between securing a new job and losing the position to a competitor. One way to prevent this issue is to have the conviction removed from your criminal record through a process called expungement. While the law in Pennsylvania makes it difficult for individuals to have a past crime removed from their record, in some cases, it is possible.

Currently, Pennsylvania permits the expungement of misdemeanors or felonies where:

  1. The individual is 70 years of age and has been free of arrest or prosecution for 10 years following their final release from confinement or supervision; or
  2. The individual has been dead for 3 years; or
  3. The individual was convicted of a summary offense and has been free of arrest or prosecution for 5 years following the conviction.

Continue Reading Expungements in Pennsylvania

As life, work, and the economy have changed over the last several decades, so has the age of retirement. Unfortunately, for many people retiring at 65 is no longer an option in today’s world. Due to this fact, we have seen a corresponding rise in the number of workplace age discrimination cases in the past few years.

Considering people are working well past the traditional age of retirement, employers must be mindful in their succession planning practices and in their communications with their more seasoned employees. It can be very easy for an employer to start what was intended to be a legitimate succession planning discussion with an employee, only for it to turn into an improper conversation about retirement.

Now, whether or not an individual will prevail in a claim for age discrimination will most likely depend on the employee’s status and the motivating factor behind their termination, among other factors. While age discrimination cases tend to be harder to prove than a disability, gender, or race discrimination case, this does not mean that employers should start suggesting that their older employees consider retirement. In other words, put down the engraved plaques and watches, and as always be thoughtful in your communications with employees.

If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your age, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel immediately to discuss your options.

On Tuesday evening, the Concord Township Board of Supervisors in Delaware County, Pennsylvania approved beer sales at the Wawa located at 721 Naamans Creed Road in Chadds Ford. Customers will be able to purchase up to two 6-packs of beer at the Delaware County store. The Naamans Creek Road store is the first Wawa in Pennsylvania to be approved for beer sales.

Beer sales at Wawa could mean a whole new and vast market for local beer brewers. If Wawa chooses to expand the sale of beer to its other locations, local brewers could put their product in front of a large new set of consumers.

But what does this mean for beer distributors in Pennsylvania?

Earlier this year, the PLCB declared that beer distributors are permitted to sell 12-packs of beer. The distributors are required to purchase the beer in 12-pack shipments in order to resell to the consumer in that quantity. This was a huge win for Pennsylvania distributors who had been limited to selling beer by the case or keg. While the Pennsylvania liquor code permits bars, supermarkets and convenience stores to sell beers by the 6-pack, it tends to be sold at higher costs than those charged by distributors.

Given Wawa’s vast reach and popularity in Pennsylvania, this could be the start of a whole new area of competition for beer distributors in Pennsylvania. Similar to a restaurant, Wawa would be permitted to sell beer from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Sundays, while beer distributors are generally limited to sales from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. It may also be more appealing for customers to make one stop at Wawa to purchase beer, food, gas and other everyday items, rather than making an additional stop at their local beer distributor.

The upside for PA beer distributors is that sales have not yet been approved by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and Wawa officials have stated that they are currently only seeking approval at the Delaware County location.

Recently, the Pennsylvania Senate passed House Bill 189, which amends the Pennsylvania Liquor Code to permit wine producers to ship wine directly to Commonwealth residents and reduces the special liquor order markup for licensees. Before wine-makers can start shipping their wine, they will need to obtain a direct wine shippers license, which must be renewed on an annual basis. Once the license has been obtained, the licensee may ship an unlimited amount of wine to any Pennsylvania resident who is over the age of 21 for their personal use.

Of course, Bill 189 requires the recipient of the wine to provide proof of age prior to delivery. While the direct wine shipper must verify the buyer’s age in a manner approved by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the PLCB’s website does not yet provide guidance on the specific method to be used. Under the current law, customers are required to pick up ordered wine at a Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Shoppe where they must provide proof of age and complete an affidavit attesting to the use of the alcoholic beverage by someone of legal age. The shipped wine must include a special label which states: “Contains Alcohol: Signature of Person 21 Years of Age or Older Required for Delivery.”

Direct wine shippers must agree to collect the 6% sales tax, any local sales taxes imposed by counties of the second class or cities of the first class, the 18% liquor tax and shipping charges on all products shipped into and within the Commonwealth. The markup on Special Liquor Orders is reduced from 30% to 10%, which means restaurants and bars will pay less when ordering products that are unavailable at the state store. The PLCB projects the reduction could reduce revenue by approximately $16,500,000 annually based on the $67,000,000 in special liquor orders in 2013-2014. The reduction could also mean a more extensive selection of wine and spirits in Pennsylvania bars and restaurants.