Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – October 13, 2023

  1. Cannabis Regulatory Agency Seeks to Update Michigan’s Marihuana Rules

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (“CRA”) recently filed a Request for Rulemaking to begin the process of updating Michigan’s Marihuana Rules. The CRA is asking for feedback—comments or suggestions can be sent to CRA-AdminRules@michigan.gov.

Why it Matters: The proposed updates, a summary of which can be found here, would impact licensing, social equity, financial compliance, and a host of other issues.

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  1. Client Alert: October 14 Deadline: Medicare Part D Notice of Creditable (or Non-Creditable) Coverage

Medicare Part D notices (of either creditable or non-creditable coverage) are due for distribution prior to October 15th.

Why it Matters: With respect to group health plans including prescription coverage offered by an employer to any Medicare Part D eligible employees (whether or not retired) or to Medicare Part D Medicare-eligible spouses or dependents, the employer must provide those individuals with a Notice of Creditable or Non-Creditable Coverage to advise them whether the drug plan’s total gross value is at least as valuable as the standard Part D coverage (i.e., creditable). Read more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Exceed $274 Million in September

Cannabis sales surpassed $274 million in September, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $269,813,092.72, while medical sales came in at $4,915,502.78, totaling $274,728,595.50.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market oversaturation that the industry is contending with.

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  1. U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Legal Standard for Threatening Speech in Counterman V. Colorado

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Counterman v. Colorado addressed the longstanding ambiguity surrounding the standards for criminal prosecution based on perceived threats of violence.

Why it Matters: The Court held that such a prosecution requires proof that the defendant subjectively understood the threatening nature of the statement such that making the statement was at least reckless. This case not only delves deep into First Amendment protections but also has broad implications for online communications and interactions. Read more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Business Education Series – Maximizing Productivity: Strategies for More Effective Workdays

Productivity is a habit and it’s something you can become better at every day by choosing the methods and tricks that work for you.

Why it Matters: In the October Business Education Series program, Emmie Musser, Future of Work Strategist with TechSmith, is going to discuss some tried-and-true strategies for more productive and effective workdays. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig
Criminal Law | Paula Spicer

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – October 6, 2023

  1. House Bills Would Allow Students Access to Medical Marijuana on School Grounds

“Jayden’s Law,” Michigan House Bills 5063 and 5064, would apply only to non-smokable medical marijuana. It would allow both public and private schools to administer medical cannabis on school grounds, subject to certain requirements, including a written treatment plan provided by the child’s caregiver, supervised administration by a designated staff member, and annual proof of the students’ medical marijuana cards.

Why it Matters: Michigan has allowed minors to access medical marijuana as registered patients for more than a decade. Such use, however, is prohibited while at school or school events. Backers of the legislation argue that students who use medical marijuana but must check out and back into school to do so, miss classroom instructions or extracurricular activities.

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  1. U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Legal Standard for Threatening Speech in Counterman V. Colorado

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Counterman v. Colorado addressed the longstanding ambiguity surrounding the standards for criminal prosecution based on perceived threats of violence.

Why it Matters: The Court held that such a prosecution requires proof that the defendant subjectively understood the threatening nature of the statement such that making the statement was at least reckless. This case not only delves deep into First Amendment protections but also has broad implications for online communications and interactions. Read more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Thaddeus Morgan Selected to Serve on State Bar of Michigan’s U.S. Courts Committee

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Thaddues Morgan was selected to serve on the State Bar of Michigan’s U.S. Courts Committee for the 2023-24 Bar Year. Attorney volunteers are vital for the State Bar to continue providing exceptional service to the legal profession, the public, and the state.

Why it Matters: The State Bar of Michigan’s U.S. Courts Committee provides advice and recommendations concerning the State Bar’s interaction with federal courts in Michigan and on practice of law in those courts. Learn more.

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  1. Employee Benefits Attorney

Fraser Trebilcock is seeking applications for a position in our Firm from well-qualified attorneys with strong experience in employee benefits, including employer sponsored retirement plans, employee health plans and general ERISA compliance.

Why it Matters: The successful candidate should have a solid and portable client base. Fraser will consider candidates who may lack a portable client base provided they have a solid background in these practice areas and demonstrate an aptitude for client service and growth. Learn more and to apply.

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  1. Business Education Series – Maximizing Productivity: Strategies for More Effective Workdays

Productivity is a habit and it’s something you can become better at every day by choosing the methods and tricks that work for you.

Why it Matters: In the October Business Education Series program, Emmie Musser, Future of Work Strategist with TechSmith, is going to discuss some tried-and-true strategies for more productive and effective workdays. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Criminal Law | Paula Spicer
Litigation | Thaddeus Morgan

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Legal Standard for Threatening Speech in Counterman v. Colorado

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Counterman v. Colorado addressed the longstanding ambiguity surrounding the standards for criminal prosecution based on perceived threats of violence. The Court held that such a prosecution requires proof that the defendant subjectively understood the threatening nature of the statement such that making the statement was at least reckless. This case not only delves deep into First Amendment protections but also has broad implications for online communications and interactions.

In this case, Billy Counterman, the criminal defendant, sent numerous unwelcome messages via Facebook to a local musician, raising questions about the delicate balance between free speech and threatening conduct. After multiple block attempts by the musician, Counterman continued his messages from different accounts, leading the musician to believe she was under surveillance and in potential danger.

Colorado prosecutors charged Counterman solely based on his Facebook interactions, asserting that his messages transcended the bounds of protected speech under the First Amendment. Counterman contended that his messages were not “true threats,” arguing that he lacked a subjective understanding of their threatening nature. The lower courts, relying on an objective reasonableness standard, rejected this assertion, deeming the messages as unlawful threats.

The Supreme Court, however, overturned the lower courts’ decisions, opining that while “true threats of violence” are not shielded by the First Amendment, establishing whether a statement is a true threat necessitates a subjective test. The Court emphasized that an objective standard could potentially stifle legitimate speech. A subjective analysis is therefore crucial to reconcile the tension between safeguarding speech and enabling lawful prosecution for illicit expressions.

The ruling specified the requisite intent prosecutors must establish, decreeing that they must demonstrate that defendants made threatening statements recklessly, by ignoring a substantial risk of their statements being perceived as genuine threats.

Justice Kagan, writing for the majority, acknowledged that the balance the Court struck is an imperfect one. As she explained, “[a]s with any balance, something is lost on both sides: The rule we adopt today is neither the most speech-protective nor the most sensitive to the dangers of true threats. But in declining one of those two alternative paths,” she continued, “something more important is gained: Not ‘having it all’ — because that is impossible — but having much of what is important on both sides of the scale.”

This alert serves as a general summary and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Fraser Trebilcock attorney Paula Spicer

Paula Spicer is an attorney with Fraser Trebilcock with expertise in family law, juvenile justice law, mental health law, neurological disorders, and specialized “state of mind” defenses in criminal law. You can reach her at (517) 377-0823 or at pspicer@fraserlawfirm.com.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – May 27, 2022

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – May 27, 2022; Legal, Legislative, and Regulatory Insights


The Republican-led Michigan Senate and House recently passed $2.5 billion in tax cuts, with a party-line vote in the Senate and a more bipartisan vote in the House. The legislation was passed shortly after Governor Whitmer suggested sending $500 rebates to “working families” in Michigan. The proposed tax cuts would include an expansion of Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit from 6% to 20% in the 2022 tax year; increasing personal tax exemptions by $1,800; and reducing the personal income tax rate from 4.25% to 4% starting in 2023, among other things.

Why it Matters: The jockeying between the governor and legislature revolves around the broader debate over what to do with the billions of dollars the state has available in the form of unexpected surplus, due in large part to federal pandemic relief funding. How the money is spent, or returned to Michigan residents in the form of tax cuts or rebate checks, is sure to be a key issue in the November elections.

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The Michigan legislature recently voted to put the issue of term limits for lawmakers on this year’s November ballot. The plan would permit lawmakers to serve 12 years in Lansing, and all of that time could be spent in the House or Senate, or it could be divided between the two chambers. Voters will also be asked to approve or reject a requirement that state-level office holders submit annual financial disclosures to address conflicts of interest. If approved by voters, elected officials would have to disclose their assets, income and liabilities, and their involvement in any businesses, nonprofits, labor organizations or educational institutions.

Why it Matters: In 1992, Michigan voters voted in favor of a constitutional amendment for term limits. Since then, Michigan House members have been limited to three two-year terms and Michigan Senate members to two four-year terms—a maximum of 14 years between the two chambers. Accordingly, if the new term limit proposal is passed by Michigan voters, it would represent the first substantive change to term limits in 30 years.

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The Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case with significant implications for criminal cases against nine former government officials stemming from the Flint water cases, as well as for criminal procedure, more generally, in Michigan. The criminal defendants, including former Governor Rick Snyder, argue that their constitutional rights were violated when a single grand juror indicted them.

Why it Matters: Beyond the question of whether a one-person grand jury is constitutional, this case also raises interesting separation of power issues, given that the grand juror was a sitting judge.

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In a cash-out merger, the shareholders of the target company cash out and aren’t involved in the ongoing operations of the acquiring company. But what happens when not all the shareholders are happy about the deal? As you might suspect, litigation often ensues, and that’s exactly what happened in a case, Murphy v. Inman, recently decided by the Michigan Supreme Court. It’s an important case because the Court clarified the rights of shareholders bringing claims against directors after a cash-out merger.

Why it Matters: This decision gives shareholders, boards of directors—and their respective advisors—much needed clarity on how actions taken during corporate transactions will be viewed by the courts. First, the Court adopted a two-question test, based on reasoning from Delaware courts, to determine whether a claim should be derivative or direct. Second, it made clear that boards of directors do owe fiduciary duties directly to shareholders during a cash-out merger.

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Three significant developments related to the production and consumption of energy happened recently. First, Governor Whitmer announced a roadmap for making Michigan carbon neutral by 2050. Second, the Attorney General’s office reached a settlement with Consumers Energy that would result in Consumers ending its use of coal by 2025. Third, Governor Whitmer petitioned the U.S. Department of Energy to keep the Palisades Nuclear Plant in southwest Michigan open, arguing that its closure would cost the state 600 well-paying jobs.

Why it Matters: Energy continues to be a major political and economic issue around the world (the war in Ukraine), in the United States (high gas prices), as well as here in Michigan. Energy inflation, together with ongoing efforts to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, pose ongoing challenges and opportunities for politicians, policymakers and business leaders alike.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Mergers & Acquisitions | Edward Castellani

Criminal | Election Law | Klint Kesto

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Michael Ashton

Taxation | Mark Kellogg

MI AG Nessel Reissues Consumer Alert Following Verizon Smishing Warning

On April 1, 2022, the Michigan Attorney General reissued a consumer warning that targets Verizon phone users. The scam often works since the text message looks like it is coming from Verizon, the user’s own phone number, or another trusted number. The scam texts from Verizon thank the user for paying their bill and offers something free by clicking on a link. The link will likely download malware to your phone that may lead to identity theft. Verizon is aware of the issue and is working to prevent these scams.

For more information, read the Attorney General’s full press release here.


If you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney

Attorney Brian Morley Discusses Current Criminal Legal News on Radio Show

The recent Virginia Beach mass shooting that left 12 municipal workers deceased again brought the questions surrounding workplace shootings and disgruntled employees to national headlines.

While a guest on Michigan’s Big Show with Michael Patrick Shields earlier this week, attorney Brian P. Morley discussed the shooting and whether there are any indicators or signs to prevent such events from occurring.

To hear the full interview with Brian, click here.


Brian P. Morley | Fraser TrebilcockFor more information on this blog post, or other criminal or family law concerns, contact Lansing attorney Brian P. Morley at 517.377.0873, or bmorley@fraserlawfirm.com. Brian Morley is a skilled attorney specializing in criminal defense and family law, with the added experience of nearly a decade as a certified police officer. He was recently selected by peers for inclusion once again in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 in the field of DUI/DWI Defense.

Attorney Brian Morley Discusses Current Criminal Legal News on Radio Show

Brian P. Morley | Fraser TrebilcockThis past weekend, six people were killed by gun violence in Kalamazoo. The alleged gunman was an Uber driver who, authorities say, has admitted to the shootings. However, the suspect is pleading not guilty in court.

While a guest on Michigan’s Big Show with Michael Patrick Shields this week, attorney Brian P. Morley was asked how an alleged criminal can say he was involved with a crime but then plead not guilty.

“The legal question will become, ‘is he criminally responsible’ for the crime, ” said Morley. “That’s why you plead not guilty at this stage.”

Morley and Shields also discussed the current television series “The People vs O.J. Simpson” and how that trial is captivating audiences now, just as it did 20 years ago.

“DNA was relatively new at the time,” Morley said. “It wasn’t as commonplace as it is now.”

To hear the full interview with Morley, on both topics, CLICK HERE.

For more information on this blog post, or other criminal or family law concerns, contact Lansing attorney Brian P. Morley at 517.377.0873, or bmorley@fraserlawfirm.com. Brian Morley is a skilled attorney specializing in criminal defense and family law, with the added experience of nearly a decade as a certified police officer. He was recently selected by peers for inclusion once again in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 in the field of DUI/DWI Defense.