City of Detroit Faces Lawsuits Over Adult-Use Recreational Licenses

Following the Detroit City Council’s vote on the revised ordinance to allow adult-use recreational cannabis sales, multiple medical marijuana companies have filed suit against the city over the licensing program.

JARS Cannabis and House of Dank, two companies that own medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in Detroit, are suing the City of Detroit over the revised ordinance claiming that the new law would signal the end for existing medical marijuana facilities already in the area. The two companies pointed to a provision in the revised ordinance that prevents existing medical facilities in the area from getting a recreational license until 2027.

In its lawsuit, JARS Cannabis argues that Detroit’s revised ordinance violates a state law providing that municipalities cannot adopt ordinances that are “unreasonably impracticable.” Rather than provide a competitive application process, the city utilizes a scoring system for choosing which companies receive a license.

Detroit has faced lawsuits over its cannabis licensing ordinances before. In 2021, a federal district judge found that the city’s first recreational marijuana ordinance, which gave licensing preference to “legacy” Detroit residents, was “likely unconstitutional.”

JARS Cannabis and House of Dank, in their respective lawsuits, both argue that the revised ordinance still shows too much preference to certain potential applicants—namely, Detroit residents and newcomers to the cannabis business.

While these lawsuits are actively pending, we are monitoring the situation and will provide updates. At Fraser Trebilcock, we have handled multiple lawsuits in the cannabis field and are able to assist you. Please contact Klint Kesto, Matthew Meyerhuber, or your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Fraser Trebilcock attorney and former Michigan State Legislator Klint Kesto has nearly two decades of experience working in both the public and private sectors, including serving as Co-Chair of the CARES Task Force. You can reach him at or 517.377.0868.

Matthew J. Meyerhuber is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock focusing on general litigation, cannabis law, environmental law, and real estate. Matthew can be reached at or 517.377.0885. 

Michigan Regulatory Agency Clarifies Strict Guidelines for Marijuana Packaging Will Be Enforced Effective February 2022

One of the important objectives of legal marijuana regulations in Michigan is keeping the product out of the hands of minors. To that end, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (“MRA”) recently released an advisory bulletin that outlines packaging rules and enforcement guidelines for edible marijuana products in Michigan. This advisory comes in the wake of media reports indicating the number of cases of children ingesting marijuana products has risen based on data from Michigan Poison Centers.

“The MRA is aware of many non-compliant marijuana-infused edible packaging and products available in the market today,” the agency wrote in a statement. “Some of the marijuana packages that appeal to children have images of fruit, animals, or food on the packaging. Others use words that are commonly used in commercial candy such as milk chocolate, peanut butter, gummies, or chews without using the words THC, marijuana, or cannabis as modifiers.”

The MRA also announced that its Enforcement Division’s Field Operations team will be educating marijuana businesses regarding the contents of its bulletin and, effective February 2, 2022, will begin conducting investigations when necessary for marijuana-infused edible products or packaging that fails to comply with the rules. Violations could lead to significant fines.

Relevant Regulations

As set forth in the bulletin, Rule 3(9) of the Marijuana-Infused Products and Edible Marijuana Product Rule Set states a producer of edible marijuana product shall comply with the following:

  • Edible marijuana product packages shall not be in a shape or labeled in a manner that would appeal to minors aged 17 years or younger. Edible marijuana products shall not be associated with, or have, cartoons, caricatures, toys, designs, shapes, labels, or packaging that would appeal to minors.
  • Edible marijuana products shall not be easily confused with commercially sold candy. The use of the word candy or candies on the packaging or labeling is prohibited.
  • Edible marijuana products shall not be in the distinct shape of a human, animal, or fruit, or a shape that bears the likeness or contains characteristics of a realistic or fictional human, animal, or fruit, including artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings. Edible marijuana products that are geometric shapes and simply fruit flavored are permissible.
  • Edible marijuana products must be in opaque, child-resistant packages or containers that meet the effectiveness specifications outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (16 CFR 1700.15). Edible marijuana products containing more than one serving must be in a resealable package or container that meets the effectiveness specifications outlined in 16 CFR 1700.15.

The MRA explained that it is aware that there are many non-compliant marijuana-infused edible packaging and products available in the market today. According to the MRA, producers of non-compliant packaged product have the following options:

  • Repackage the products into new, compliant packaging.
  • Place non-transparent stickers on the package to clearly label the product as a marijuana product, THC product, or cannabis product using the same or larger font as the words commonly used in commercial candy.
  • Place non-transparent stickers on non-compliant portions of the packaging for marijuana- infused edible products.
  • Voluntarily destroy the non-compliant product.

Provisioning centers and adult-use retailers who possess packaged products that are non-compliant have the following options:

  • Place non-transparent stickers on non-compliant portions of the packaging for marijuana-infused edible products.
  • Voluntarily destroy the non-compliant product.
  • Adult-use retailers can compliantly send marijuana products back to adult-use processors via a secure transporter.

The MRA also advises that licensees need to correct products or packaging that are “egregiously non-compliant” immediately – or as soon as possible – rather than waiting until February 2, 2022. Examples of egregiously non-compliant products or packaging are identified in the bulletin.

What this means for marijuana product producers

Marijuana manufacturers and retailers should review the advisory bulletin and the underlying regulations, and take steps to begin correcting non-compliant products or packaging immediately in order to ensure compliance by February 2, 2022. For assistance, please contact Paul C. Mallon, Jr., Shareholder and Chair of Fraser Trebilcock’s cannabis law practice.

mallon-paulPaul C. Mallon, Jr.  is Shareholder and Chair of Fraser Trebilcock’s cannabis law practice. You can reach him at or (313) 965-9043.