Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – October 20, 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. Provisional Patent Application Overview

While deciding whether to file a patent application, it is important to consider both your short- and long-term goals in view of your finances and the current state of your idea. Depending on these factors you may be deciding between filing a provisional or non-provisional application.

Why it Matters: A provisional patent application is a type of patent application that serves as a placeholder for a non-provisional patent application, providing the applicant with a priority date for their invention and a one-year window to follow up and file a non-provisional application. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. CRA Publishes September 2023 Data: Average Price Increases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in September was $100.14, an increase from $94.16 in August. This is still a decrease from September 2022, where the average price was $109.88.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Shareholder Ryan Kauffman Participates in Arguments in Michigan Supreme Court

On Thursday, October 5, Fraser Trebilcock Shareholder Ryan Kauffman participated in arguments in the Michigan Supreme Court on cases brought against higher education universities related to the COVID-19 issue.

Why it Matters: You can view the entirety of the argument by going to the Michigan Supreme Court’s YouTube page, or by clicking here (Mr. Kauffman’s argument starts at 43:40). Read more.

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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

Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman

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 – August 11, 2023

  1. CRA Issues Bulletin, Recalling Vape Cartridges Due to Possible Presence of Banned Chemical

On July 21, 2023, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (“CRA”), issued a public health safety bulletin, recalling more than 13,000 vape cartridges “due to the possible presence of banned chemical residue exceeding the established action limits.”

Why it Matters: Sky Labs, LLC, is the licensed marijuana processor who manufactured the three batches of vape cartridges that were recalled. Businesses operating in the cannabis market are required to adhere to strict rules and regulations laid out by the CRA. Failure to do so can result in steep fines, recalled product, and potential loss of license(s).

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  1. Business Education Series – Setting Meaningful Goals and Time Blocking for Success

On August 22, 2023, gain valuable knowledge and skills to set meaningful goals, establish priorities, and effectively manage their time through the practice of time blocking.

Why it Matters: Participants will learn practical strategies and techniques to enhance their goal-setting abilities, develop a clear sense of direction, and optimize their productivity. Learn more.

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  1. Michigan Supreme Court Alters Premises Liability Framework

Michigan courts have long held that premises owners generally have no duty to protect invitees from “open and obvious” hazards. In a recent decision (Kandil-Elsayed v F&E Oil, Inc and Pinsky v Kroger Co of Michigan), the Michigan Supreme Court held that whether a hazard is open and obvious is not an integral part of duty but is instead “relevant to breach and the parties’ comparative fault.” The Court overruled the special-aspects exception, holding that “when a land possessor should anticipate the harm that results from an open and obvious condition, despite its obviousness, the possessor is not relieved of the duty of reasonable care.”

Why it Matters: This decision significantly changes the legal standards in premises liability cases, particularly slip-and-fall cases.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Thaddeus Morgan Obtains Summary Judgment for Firm Client; Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, which granted summary judgment for the firm’s client, who was represented by Fraser Trebilcock attorney Thaddeus Morgan.

Why it Matters: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit did not find either of the district court’s decisions erroneous, affirming the denial of the Plaintiff’s motion to amend and granting summary judgment to the defendants.

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  1. Michigan Supreme Court Rules that New No-Fault Law Does Not Apply Retroactively

On July 31, 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed, in part, a court of appeals decision ruling that medical cost controls in Michigan’s new no-fault auto insurance law do not apply retroactively to car crash victims whose accidents occurred prior to the change in the law.

Why it Matters: As a result of the ruling, drivers who were catastrophically injured in accidents prior to the no-fault must be paid at full rates and not be subject to new cost controls for medical services.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers
Litigation | Thaddeus Morgan

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – February 24, 2023

  1. $35 Million in Grants Available for Small Nonprofits

The State of Michigan, Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) have teamed up to help Michigan charities whose operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it Matters: Under this initiative, called the MI Nonprofit Relief Fund, grants in amounts between $5,000 and $25,000 will be awarded to selected entities with annual revenues total under $1 million. In addition, eligible entities must be based in Michigan and recognized by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3). Learn more.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency Suspends Licenses, Issues Advisory

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) recently suspended the licenses of a marijuana processor and issued a safety advisory for items manufactured with “illicit product.”

Why it Matters: This action is an important reminder to marijuana businesses in Michigan that the CRA is active in regulating businesses and taking enforcement action when appropriate. TAS Asset Holdings is the second processor to have its license suspended by the CRA this month. The CRA also announced disciplinary action against 10 marijuana businesses on February 10.

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  1. CRA Publishes January 2023 Data, Average Price Drops

Per recent monthly data published by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail flower price of an ounce of cannabis is $80.16, an all-time low, and almost a 50% decrease compared to last year’s average price of $152.74.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. DOL Issues Telework Guidance to Employers

On February 9, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (Bulletin) addressing several questions related to compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when a business employs teleworkers.

Why it Matters: The Bulletin provides that the protections under the FLSA apply equally to employees who telework as to employees working at an office, factory, construction site, retail outlet, or any other worksite location.

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  1. ERISA Health and Welfare Plan Voluntary Audit Service

Fraser Trebilcock is excited to introduce our Health and Welfare Plan Voluntary Audit Service to help businesses ensure their health and welfare plans are compliant with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Why it Matters: ERISA is a complex set of regulations that governs employee benefit plans, including health and welfare plans. Failure to comply with ERISA can result in costly fines and penalties, not to mention damage to your company’s reputation. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Employee Benefits | Robert Burgee

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – December 30, 2022

  1. NIL Legislation Takes Effect December 31, 2022

Michigan House Bill 5217 which was passed into law in 2020, takes effect December 31, 2022 and sets new standards for how student-athletes can earn compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) in Michigan.

Why it Matters: Student-athletes, covered higher education institutions, and businesses must ensure that NIL deal comply not only with NCAA rules and regulations, but also with the new standards that will apply in the State of Michigan starting in 2023. For example, higher education institutions are prohibited from paying a student-athlete compensation directly for the use of their NIL rights, or revoking or reducing a student-athlete’s athletic scholarship because they earned compensation from an NIL deal.

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  1. CRA Unveils Cannabis Market Taxation and Regulatory Compliance Analysis Grant Program

Stemming from the state’s 2022-2023 budget, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency must award a grant to a selected party to start a program that is intended to analyze tax reporting, collection, and regulatory compliance within the Michigan cannabis market and provides up to $500,000 for performing the required work.

Why it Matters: Illegal cannabis flooding the market is still a major issue that is troubling Michigan’s cannabis market. This new program will identify relevant areas with information gathered from tax reporting to investigate for possible misconduct and other regulatory noncompliance.

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  1. Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget Prevailing Wage Policy Upheld by Court of Claims

The Michigan Court of Claims sided with the state and ruled that DTMB did not violate the law when it implemented its prevailing wage policy on March 1, 2022.

Why it Matters: In July, 2021, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan (“ABC”) filed a lawsuit against the State of Michigan with a motion for preliminary injunction asking the Court to enjoin DTMB from requiring prevailing wages for state contracts. ABC argued that Michigan cannot require the wage rate of its contractors because of the repeal of Michigan’s prevailing wage law in 2018. In October, the Michigan Court of Claims sided with the state. ABC has appealed the ruling. For the time being, pending the outcome of the appeal, DTMB’s prevailing wage policy remains in effect for construction projects financed in whole or in part by State of Michigan funds. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. Bills Seeking to Expand Affordable Housing in Michigan Are Passed

Governor Whitmer signed a package of bills (Senate Bills 362364422 and 432) intended to support the development of more affordable housing units in communities across Michigan, with a particular focus on creating new housing units in cities.

Why it Matters: Lack of affordable housing is a big problem in Michigan and throughout the country. From an economic standpoint, when there is a lack of affordable housing, it makes it difficult for employers to attract and retain workers. Data from the Resilient Homes Michigan coalition says that Michigan is short about 203,000 affordable rental homes for the 320,000 renting households in the state that have incomes at or below 30% of the median income for their area.

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  1. Officials Unveil $2 Million Grant to Support High-Tech Talent Workforce in Michigan

Earlier this month, Governor Whitmer along with officials from the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, and the Detroit Regional Chamber, unveiled a two million dollar grant program to MichAuto to support and build up the high-tech talent workforce in Michigan.

Why it Matters: Investing in Michigan’s workforce and talent pipeline is key for the state to keep workers from leaving and relocating to other states. It builds on the state’s MI Future Mobility Plan to continue attracting businesses and workers to work in the state related to the future of transportation.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Real Estate | Jared Roberts
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis

CBD Likely to Receive Stricter Regulatory Scrutiny in Michigan Following Governor’s Executive Order

Significant changes in Michigan’s cannabis regulatory framework go into effect on April 13, 2022, following Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order No. 2022-1.

Pursuant to the Executive Order, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, which oversees marijuana growing, processing, and sales, will become the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (the “Agency”).

And the authorities, powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to license and regulate processor-handlers under the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act are being transferred to the Agency to be administered by the Agency. While the Agency will begin overseeing the processing, distribution and selling of hemp products, such as CBD, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will continue to oversee hemp cultivation.

An article in Crain’s Detroit Business which discusses the changes wrought by the Executive Order, also speculates about the possibility of more stringent regulations on CBD products. Andrew Brisbo, executive director of the Michigan Regulatory Agency, is quoted as saying “nothing will change” in the short term, and that “changes that will potentially come will be through a legislative process.”

Brisbo suggests that changes will focus on CBD products meant for human consumption, and that such products will “likely…be put through some kind of testing regime.”

We will continue to monitor these developments and keep you informed about other changes impacting Michigan’s cannabis industry. If you have any questions, please contact Paul Mallon or your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.


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