Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – May 31, 2024

  1. Sixth Circuit Finds No Enforceable Requirements Contract in Automotive Supply Dispute

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a district court’s preliminary injunction that had compelled an automotive supplier to continue supplying seatbelt parts to another automotive company at the contract price. The court found that the parties’ contracts lacked a clear and precise quantity term, and thus did not constitute an enforceable requirements contract under Michigan law, as clarified by the Michigan Supreme Court’s 2023 decision in MSSC, Inc. v. Airboss Flexible Products Co. Consequently, the supplier was free to accept or decline purchase requests on a release-by-release basis.

Why it Matters: The Sixth Circuit’s decision in Higuchi International Corp. v. Autoliv ASP, Inc. underscores the importance of carefully drafting contracts to ensure they meet the requirements for an enforceable requirements contract under Michigan law. Michigan businesses should review relevant contracts with their Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

———

  1. Keep Your Michigan Cottage in the Family

The family cottage is a place for fun and relaxation in Michigan. For many, the family cottage becomes the meeting place for generations and where lifelong memories are made. As a result, it’s often the intent of the owner to pass the cottage on to future generations to enjoy. Unfortunately, challenges such as high property taxes and family disputes can prevent that from happening. These obstacles can be overcome through careful cottage succession planning.

Why it Matters: If you own a cottage in Michigan, our Cottage Law team can help you think through the issues and take the actions necessary to create a cottage plan. A cottage plan usually addresses the concerns through the creative use of a limited liability company (LLC) or a trust to own the property. Learn more from your cottage law attorney.

———

  1. Gain Peace of Mind Through Life’s Toughest Challenges

Family law involves deeply personal and often emotional issues – that can be as complicated as they are sensitive. A strong family law attorney understands the judicial processes and procedures, while also handling your case with care and compassion.

Why it Matters: Fraser Trebilcock attorney Paula C. Spicer has over a decade of experience assisting clients in family law matters. Paula compassionately and efficiently works with clients to help them understand their options and navigate the often challenging and emotional situations. Learn more how she may be able to assist.

———

  1. June Business Education Series

Most entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations – employee conflicts, lack of sales, profit woes and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, they fail to be properly implemented. There is a solution, and it is not complicated or theoretical.

Why it Matters: The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 100,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do. Learn more and to register.

———

  1. DEA Recommends Cannabis Rescheduling: Developments and Implications for the Industry

The industry may soon experience a major shift, as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) moves to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III. This decision follows a recommendation from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), which is supported by scientific evidence reviewed by the FDA.

Why it Matters: The expected rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III will have notable implications for cannabis businesses. The removal of cannabis from I.R.C. Section 280E will provide significant tax relief for state-legal cannabis operators, and the possibility of increased banking access could enhance the industry’s financial stability and growth potential. Nevertheless, cannabis companies will continue to face certain limitations stemming from the persistent federal prohibition of cannabis. Read more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg
Family Law | Paula Spicer
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

DEA Recommends Cannabis Rescheduling: Developments and Implications for the Industry

The state-licensed cannabis industry has been operating under significant constraints due to cannabis’s classification as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This categorization, which groups cannabis with drugs like heroin and LSD, has faced growing criticism as an increasing number of states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. However, the industry may soon experience a major shift, as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) moves to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III. This decision follows a recommendation from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), which is supported by scientific evidence reviewed by the FDA.

It’s important to note that the rescheduling process will take time before it officially takes effect. After the White House reviews the DEA proposal, a proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register. A public-comment period will follow before the proposed rule can become final. The process will almost certainly give rise to litigation and it remains unclear how long the process will take.

Impact on Taxation: Removal from Section 280E

One of the most significant effects of this rescheduling would be the removal of cannabis from the purview of I.R.C. Section 280E. This tax code provision has been a substantial obstacle for state-licensed cannabis businesses, preventing them from deducting many ordinary business expenses when calculating their taxable income. Under 280E, cannabis companies can only deduct the Cost of Goods Sold, leading to considerably higher tax burdens compared to businesses in other industries. With the rescheduling, state-licensed cannabis businesses would be able to deduct ordinary business expenses, creating a more equitable playing field and enabling them to allocate more of their revenues toward growth and expansion.

Challenges in Banking Access

Access to banking services has been another long-standing challenge for the state-licensed cannabis industry due to the federal prohibition on cannabis. Many banks have avoided working with cannabis businesses, concerned about potential legal and regulatory consequences. While the rescheduling to Schedule III might encourage more risk-tolerant banks to engage with the industry, many will likely remain hesitant as long as cannabis remains federally illegal. To comprehensively address these banking hurdles, federal legislation like the SAFER Banking Act is necessary. This act would provide protections for federally-regulated financial institutions such as banks that serve the cannabis industry in states where it is legal. The rescheduling could potentially increase legislative support for such measures, which would support the cannabis industry’s long-term financial stability and growth.

Limitations on Legal Rights and Remedies

Even with the anticipated rescheduling, state-licensed cannabis businesses will continue to encounter restrictions on their federal legal rights and remedies. Due to the ongoing federal prohibition on cannabis, state-sanctioned businesses in the industry will still face difficulties in establishing and protecting intellectual property rights, such as trademarks. Furthermore, access to bankruptcy courts will likely remain restricted, although some courts have recently demonstrated a willingness to allow cannabis-related businesses that are not directly involved in cannabis operations to utilize bankruptcy proceedings.

Conclusion

The expected rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III will have notable implications for state-sanctioned cannabis businesses. The removal of cannabis from I.R.C. Section 280E will provide significant tax relief for state-licensed cannabis operators, and the possibility of increased banking access could enhance the industry’s financial stability and growth potential. Nevertheless, cannabis companies will continue to face certain limitations stemming from the persistent federal prohibition of cannabis. As the legal landscape evolves, it is essential for cannabis businesses to remain informed about industry developments and to collaborate with legal professionals who can offer guidance and support in navigating the shifting regulatory environment.

If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact Sean P. Gallagher.

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


Fraser Trebilcock attorney Sean P. GallagherSean P. Gallagher is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock with experience in the highly regulated cannabis industry, working with local and state officials to advance client interests and to help mitigate risks involved and increase opportunities. You can reach him at 517.377.0820 or at sgallagher@fraserlawfirm.com.

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – May 17, 2024

  1. Michigan Legislature Considers Tax Breaks for Data Center Development

With the emergence of artificial intelligence, and its massive computing needs, data center development has exploded across the country. Michigan may soon be making a push for more data center development with a package of bills (House bills 4905-4906 and Senate bills 237-238) which, if passed, would expand sales- and use-tax exemptions for data center equipment.

Why it Matters: The economic growth potential from data center development is significant. According to McKinsey & Company,  US data center demand is forecast to grow and compound by over 10 percent a year until 2030.

———

  1. DEA Recommends Cannabis Rescheduling: Developments and Implications for the Industry

The industry may soon experience a major shift, as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) moves to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III. This decision follows a recommendation from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), which is supported by scientific evidence reviewed by the FDA.

Why it Matters: The expected rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III will have notable implications for cannabis businesses. The removal of cannabis from I.R.C. Section 280E will provide significant tax relief for state-legal cannabis operators, and the possibility of increased banking access could enhance the industry’s financial stability and growth potential. Nevertheless, cannabis companies will continue to face certain limitations stemming from the persistent federal prohibition of cannabis.

———

  1. Michigan Cannabis Exceeds $278 Million in April ‘24

Cannabis sales surpassed $278 million in April, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $276,685,182.93, while medical sales came in at $1,861,261.02, totaling $278,546,443.95.

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.

———

  1. June Business Education Series

Most entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations – employee conflicts, lack of sales, profit woes and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, they fail to be properly implemented. There is a solution, and it is not complicated or theoretical.

Why it Matters: The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 100,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do. Learn more and to register.

———

  1. Fraser Trebilcock’s Growth Continues With Grand Rapids Office Relocation

Fraser Trebilcock Davis Dunlap & Cavanaugh, P.C., one of Michigan’s well established law firms with a history of providing excellent legal services, is pleased to announce it has relocated its Grand Rapids office. This move is a testament to the firm’s continued ability in taking a proactive approach in providing comprehensive legal solutions across a wide range of practice areas, helping clients capitalize on potential opportunities.

Why it Matters: In late April, Fraser Trebilcock’s Grand Rapids office moved to 300 Ottawa NW Suite 810, located within walking distance of all downtown restaurants, entertainment venues, museums, municipal buildings, and the Medical Mile. The office offers the full range of the firm’s legal services, including litigation, business, tax, real estate, trusts and estates, and other areas of specialty. Clients can expect the same level of professionalism and personalized attention that Fraser Trebilcock is known for. Read more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – April 26, 2024

  1. FTC Issues Final Rule Banning Non-Compete Agreements Nationwide

On April 23, 2024, in a 3-2 vote, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule banning non-compete clauses in most employment agreements nationwide. The rule is scheduled to go into effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Why it Matters: Under the final rule, “Non-compete clause” is defined as “a term or condition of employment that prohibits a worker from, penalizes a worker for, or functions to prevent a worker from: (i) seeking or accepting work in the United States with a different person where such work would begin after the conclusion of the employment that includes the term or condition; or (ii) operating a business in the United States after the conclusion of the employment that includes the term or condition.” Read more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorneys.

———

  1. State and Local Governments Subject to ADA Website Rules

On April 23, 2024, in a 3-2 vote, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule banning non-compete clauses in most employment agreements nationwide. The rule is scheduled to go into effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Why it Matters: While staffing at many schools has grown due to pandemic relief funding, student enrollment has dwindled. This report comes on the heels of another report – this one from the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics – projecting the state population could decline by nearly 700,000 residents by 2050.

———

  1. Michigan 04/20 Sales Hits All-Time High

Per data from Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency, sales of cannabis topped $28.5 million on April 20, 2024, an increase from the reported $21.6 million in sales from the year prior.

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. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

———

  1. The Limitations of Federal Bankruptcy Law for Marijuana Businesses

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal at the federal level. This creates a unique challenge for marijuana businesses operating legally within their state’s framework, as they are unable to avail themselves of federal bankruptcy protection.

Why it Matters: Federal bankruptcy courts have been reluctant to provide relief to debtors engaged in activities that are illegal under federal law, even if those activities are legal under state law. As a result, marijuana businesses are often left without the benefits of bankruptcy protection, such as the automatic stay, discharge of debts, and court-supervised reorganization.

———

  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Secures Victory for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Andrew J. Moore was successful in obtaining summary disposition on behalf of the firm’s client. Plaintiff and their spouse applied for credit life insurance from the firm’s client, a prominent independent insurance company, in conjunction with an RV they purchased.

Why it Matters: The spouse misrepresented their medical history and was in fact diagnosed with and treating for a disqualifying medical condition. The spouse died of heart attack two months after purchase. The firm’s client rescinded the credit certificate, then was sued. Plaintiff claimed RV salesman misrepresented application, eligibility, insurability, and coverage limits, while simultaneously claiming RV salesman was an “agent” of the firm’s client such that they should be held liable for their misrepresentation. After discovery and at summary disposition, the Judge ruled in favor of the firm’s client and dismissed all counts. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Business & Tax | Andrew Martin
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Andrew Moore

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – April 19, 2024

  1. Michigan Schools Face Budget Shortfalls, Many May Have to Cut Staff

A new report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan suggests that Michigan schools may have to cut more than 5,000 teacher jobs over the next several years to balance budgets as pandemic-related funding comes to an end.

Why it Matters: While staffing at many schools has grown due to pandemic relief funding, student enrollment has dwindled. This report comes on the heels of another report – this one from the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics – projecting the state population could decline by nearly 700,000 residents by 2050.

———

  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Secures Victory for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Andrew J. Moore was successful in obtaining summary disposition on behalf of the firm’s client. Plaintiff and their spouse applied for credit life insurance from the firm’s client, a prominent independent insurance company, in conjunction with an RV they purchased.

Why it Matters: The spouse misrepresented their medical history and was in fact diagnosed with and treating for a disqualifying medical condition. The spouse died of heart attack two months after purchase. The firm’s client rescinded the credit certificate, then was sued. Plaintiff claimed RV salesman misrepresented application, eligibility, insurability, and coverage limits, while simultaneously claiming RV salesman was an “agent” of the firm’s client such that they should be held liable for their misrepresentation. After discovery and at summary disposition, the Judge ruled in favor of the firm’s client and dismissed all counts. Learn more.

———

  1. Michigan CRA Publishes March ’24 Data: Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in March was $90.70, a decrease from $91.94 in February. This is an increase from March 2023, where the average price was $86.87.

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.

———

  1. April Business Education Series

In the dynamic landscape of business, where adaptability is key, the importance of having robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) cannot be overstated. SOPs serve as the backbone of organizational efficiency, ensuring consistency, compliance, and continuous improvement.

Why it Matters: The April Business Education Series, “Optimizing Operations: The Crucial Role of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” led by Brittany Parks, founder and principal Consultant, Brittany Parks Process Consulting, is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to harness the transformative power of SOPs in their respective organizations. Learn more and to register.

———

  1. Ten Reasons Why You May Want to Consider a Family Cottage Succession Plan

The goal of cottage succession planning is to set up legal ground rules that provide the best chance to keep a cottage in the family for future generations.

Why it Matters: A cottage plan usually addresses concerns through the creative use of a limited liability company (LLC), or a trust (typically used for more favorable treatment associated with the uncapping of taxable value), to own the property. Learn more from cottage law attorney Mark Kellogg.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Law | Andrew Moore
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – April 12, 2024

  1. U of M Economists Project Michigan Economic Growth for Year Ahead

Economists from the University of Michigan recently released the annual Michigan Economic Outlook for 2024-25. The Outlook projects economic growth for the year ahead, including approximately 38,000 new jobs in 2024.

Why it Matters: This year’s expected job growth comes on the heels of a slowdown in employment in Michigan during the second half of last year, according to the report.

———

  1. April Business Education Series

In the dynamic landscape of business, where adaptability is key, the importance of having robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) cannot be overstated. SOPs serve as the backbone of organizational efficiency, ensuring consistency, compliance, and continuous improvement.

Why it Matters: The April Business Education Series, “Optimizing Operations: The Crucial Role of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” led by Brittany Parks, founder and principal Consultant, Brittany Parks Process Consulting, is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to harness the transformative power of SOPs in their respective organizations. Learn more and to register.

———

  1. Michigan Cannabis Exceeds $288 Million in March ‘24

Cannabis sales surpassed $288 million in March, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $286,790,258.52, while medical sales came in at $2,053,021.25, totaling $288,843,279.77.

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.

———

  1. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

Why it Matters: The UPOAA will apply to all powers of attorney in Michigan beginning July 1, 2024, with certain exceptions. Read more from attorney Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec.

———

  1. Ten Reasons Why You May Want to Consider a Family Cottage Succession Plan

The goal of cottage succession planning is to set up legal ground rules that provide the best chance to keep a cottage in the family for future generations.

Why it Matters: A cottage plan usually addresses concerns through the creative use of a limited liability company (LLC), or a trust (typically used for more favorable treatment associated with the uncapping of taxable value), to own the property. Learn more from cottage law attorney Mark Kellogg.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Trusts & Estates | Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – March 29, 2024

  1. Cannabis Regulatory Agency Takes Disciplinary Action

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency recently released its February 2024 Disciplinary Action Report, which details administrative formal complaints and disciplinary actions taken against adult-use/medical licensees in February by the CRA. The list is extensive, and the disciplinary action imposed ranges from fines to license suspension.

Why it Matters: Michigan cannabis rules and regulation are complex, cumbersome, and, as we see from the CRA’s most recent Disciplinary Action Report, aggressively enforced by the agency. For assistance in understanding and complying with Michigan’s cannabis industry regulatory framework, please contact a member of our Cannabis Law team.

———

  1. Corporate Transparency Act Update

As anticipated, the finding by a federal judge in Alabama that the Corporate Transparency Act is unconstitutional has prompted (or at least been echoed by) challenges elsewhere, including in federal courts in Maine and in Michigan. FinCEN filed its appeal notice in the Alabama suit earlier this month, meaning that a decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals may be forthcoming. The suits in Maine and Michigan were brought in courts covered by the 5th and 6th Circuit Courts of Appeals, which could be the beginning of a series of events that brings the question of the CTA’s constitutionality before the United States Supreme Court as a result of a possible Circuit split.

Why it Matters: Reporting companies that were formed prior to January 1, 2024, may find it advantageous to continue collecting their beneficial owner information but postpone filing the report until some of these matters have worked through their respective processes. Entities created on or after January 1, 2024, however, will still need to file their reports within 90 days of filing their organizing documents, as their reporting obligations have not been excused. Learn more from attorney Bob Burgee.

———

  1. Michigan Cannabis Exceeds $261 Million in February ‘24

Cannabis sales surpassed $242 million in February, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $258,857,645.20, while medical sales came in at $2,178,744.68, totaling $261,036,389.88.

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.

———

  1. A Health Professional’s Guide to Navigating the Disciplinary Process: What to Expect if You Are Facing a Professional Licensing Investigation or Administrative Complaint

Health professionals are committed to caring for patients with expertise, compassion, and integrity. However, in the heavily regulated healthcare field, those professionals can sometimes find themselves navigating not just the medical challenges of their patients but licensing issues of their own as well. Licensing issues can arise unexpectedly, and, when they do, they can cause tremendous stress and uncertainty.

Why it Matters: As an attorney with years of experience handling professional licensing matters for health professionals, Robert J. Andretz has witnessed firsthand how professional licensing investigations and Administrative Complaints can disrupt health professionals’ careers and their ability to provide patient care. He will explore how to navigate the disciplinary process in Michigan so that you can know what to expect if you are ever faced with a threat to your license. Learn more.

———

  1. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

Why it Matters: The UPOAA will apply to all powers of attorney in Michigan beginning July 1, 2024, with certain exceptions. Read more from attorney Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Health Care Law Robert Andretz
Trusts & Estates | Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – March 22, 2024

  1. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

Why it Matters: The UPOAA will apply to all powers of attorney in Michigan beginning July 1, 2024, with certain exceptions. Read more from attorney Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec.

———

  1. Can an Out-of-State Patent Attorney Represent Me?

Securing a patent for an innovative idea involves maneuvering through a complex, multifaceted process. And having the right guide—patent legal counsel—is an essential part of the process. A common misconception is that a party hoping to secure a patent must turn to a local attorney for help. This belief, while understandable considering that many legal matters require local expertise and licensing, overlooks the dynamics of how things work with patent law.

Why it Matters: The truth is, in the digital age, the geographical location of your patent attorney matters less than their expertise, experience, and ability to navigate the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) requirements. Learn more from attorney Andrew Martin.

———

  1. Michigan CRA Publishes February Data: Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in February was $91.94, a decrease from $93.20 in January. This is an increase from February 2023, where the average price was $86.00.

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.

———

  1. CRA Warns of Scam Targeting Michigan Cannabis Businesses

On March 8, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) sent out an advisory bulletin warning cannabis businesses of an individual posing as an agent of the CRA demanding payment of license fees under the threat of revoking their license(s).

Why it Matters: The CRA noted, “Licensees and applicants are reminded that administrative rules require they notify the CRA and local law enforcement within 24 hours of becoming aware – or within 24 hours of when they should have been aware – of the theft or loss of any product or criminal activity at the marijuana business.”

———

  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorneys Secure Summary Disposition for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorneys Danielle Lofton and Gary C. Rogers have obtained summary disposition and dismissal of a lawsuit in favor of the firm’s client in a personal injury case pending before the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.

Why it Matters: Attorney Lofton successfully argued the motion, convincing the trial court that the plaintiff’s injuries did not rise to the level of serious impairment of body function, following mediation in which the plaintiff, who was represented by a prominent plaintiff’s personal injury firm, rejected the settlement recommended by a mediator, and wanted to proceed to trial before a jury. Instead of accepting the mediator’s recommended settlement amount, the plaintiff will now receive nothing. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Trusts & Estates | Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Danielle Lofton
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – February 23, 2024

  1. Michigan Awarded Nearly $23 Million for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

The State of Michigan recently announced that nearly $23 million has been awarded to multiple locations across Michigan for electric vehicle infrastructure. The funds are being allocated via the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.

Why it Matters: Electric vehicle growth and EV infrastructure is an important clean energy and economic growth priority in Michigan. However, recent reports suggest the market for EVs is slowing, and the issue has become a hot-button topic in this year’s presidential campaign. A New York Times article discussed the contentiousness of the issue in a story this week titled, “For Michigan’s Economy, Electric Vehicles are Promising and Scary.”

———

  1. Increase in the Small Business Property Tax Exemption

Eligibility for the so-called “Small Business Property Tax Exemption” has expanded. Legislation passed last October 2023, expands the exemption by increasing the eligibility limit to from the $80,000 true cash value limit to $180,000.

Why it Matters: The exemption is only for commercial and industrial personal property (residential/individuals are not subject to personal property taxes). Once filed, and if granted, the exemption will remain as long as the small business still qualifies. In other words, there is no need to file an exemption claim every year. Read more.

———

  1. Michigan CRA Publishes January 2024 Data: Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in January was $93.20, a decrease from $95.08 in December 2023. This is an increase from January 2023, where the average price was $80.16.

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.

———

  1. Michigan’s Repealed “Right-to-Work” Law Takes Effect

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Michigan’s repeal of the prior “right-to-work” law governing private-sector workers went into effect.

Why it Matters: The result of the repeal is that private-sector unions may permissibly negotiate to impasse, and enforce, “union security” provisions requiring membership in, or financial support through “Beck Objector” fees, of those unions. Read more.

———

  1. Retroactive PPT Exemption

Some Michigan manufacturers who were not able to claim their 2021 ESA-PPT exemption due to COVID-19, have until March 14 to request approval from the State Tax Commission.

Why it Matters: The ESA is a State specific tax on personal property that is exempt from property taxes at the local level because the property meets certain eligibility requirements, such as being qualified manufacturing or industrial personal property. In order to elect out of local personal property taxes and into the ESA regime, manufacturers must file the required forms with their local assessing office by February 20th of each year. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Sean Gallagher
Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – February 16, 2024

  1. Michigan Eliminates Pharmaceutical Company Immunity

Governor Whitmer recently signed Senate Bill 410 into law, which repeals the provision under Michigan’s Product Liability Act which granted immunity to pharmaceutical companies. A rebuttable presumption of non-liability and caps on non-economic damages remain intact.

Why it Matters: Pharmaceutical companies have had near-total immunity from product liability claims in Michigan for approximately 30 years. The law took effect on February 13, 2024.

———

  1. Retroactive PPT Exemption

Some Michigan manufacturers who were not able to claim their 2021 ESA-PPT exemption due to COVID-19, have until March 14 to request approval from the State Tax Commission.

Why it Matters: The ESA is a State specific tax on personal property that is exempt from property taxes at the local level because the property meets certain eligibility requirements, such as being qualified manufacturing or industrial personal property. In order to elect out of local personal property taxes and into the ESA regime, manufacturers must file the required forms with their local assessing office by February 20th of each year. Learn more.

———

  1. Michigan’s Repealed “Right-to-Work” Law Takes Effect

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Michigan’s repeal of the prior “right-to-work” law governing private-sector workers went into effect.

Why it Matters: The result of the repeal is that private-sector unions may permissibly negotiate to impasse, and enforce, “union security” provisions requiring membership in, or financial support through “Beck Objector” fees, of those unions. Read more.

———

  1. Michigan Cannabis Exceeds $242 Million in January ‘24

Cannabis sales surpassed $242 million in January, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $240,289,360.60, while medical sales came in at $2,523,333.56, totaling $242,812,694.16.

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.

———

  1. Client Alert/Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting Due for Employer-Provided Health Care / Disclosure Due to CMS for Medicare Part D

Unless subject to an exemption, employers must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage provided in 2023 on their employees’ Form W-2 (Code DD in Box 12) issued in January 2024. Please see IRS Notice 2012-09. Additionally, group health plans offering prescription drug coverage are required to disclose to all Part D-eligible individuals who are enrolled in or were seeking to enroll in the group health plan coverage whether such coverage was creditable.

Why it Matters: The filing deadline is 60 days following the first day of the plan year. If you operate a calendar year plan, the deadline is the end of February. If you operate a non-calendar year plan, please be sure to keep track of your deadline. Contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney for any questions.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig