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

  1. New Michigan Law Mandates Compulsory Arbitration for Higher Education Police Officers

Michigan’s law regarding compulsory arbitration of public labor disputed has been amended to include higher education institution police officers. The change takes effect on January 22, 2024.

Why it Matters: Higher education institutions should assess the impact the new law may have on their workforce.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Welcomes Phyllis Dahl to the Firm

We are pleased to announce the hiring of Phyllis Dahl as the firm’s new Office Manager.

Why it Matters: Ms. Dahl has over three decades of experience in the legal industry, having worked at two private law firms before joining Fraser Trebilcock. She has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University. Read more.

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  1. Client Alert: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2024!

In Notice 2023-70, the Internal Revenue Service set forth the PCORI amount imposed on insured and self-funded health plans for policy and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2023, and before October 1, 2024.

Why it Matters: Notice 2023-70 sets the adjusted applicable dollar amount used to calculate the fee at $3.22. Specifically, this fee is imposed per average number of covered lives for plan years that end on or after October 1, 2023, and before October 1, 2024. For self-funded plans, the average number of covered lives is calculated by one of three methods: (1) the actual count method; (2) the snapshot method; or (3) the Form 5500 method. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Pulls in Nearly $280 Million in December

Cannabis sales are just below $280 million in December, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $276,732,645.94, while medical sales came in at $3,177,042.62, totaling $279,909,688.56.

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. CRA Publishes December 2023 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 December was $95.08, a small decrease from $97.51 in November. For the second time, this is an increase to the average price when compared to the year prior, when in December 2022, the average price was $90.68.

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.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Phyllis Dahl
Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

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

  1. Cannabis Regulatory Agency Announces $1 Million Social Equity Grant Program

Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) announced a $1 million grant program to applicants who have a recreational marijuana license, have eligible Social Equity Program participants, and participate in the CRA’s “Social Equity All-Star Program.”

Why it Matters: The program is intended to encourage participation in the industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Welcomes Danielle Lofton to the Firm

We are pleased to announce the hiring of attorney Danielle Lofton who will work primarily in the firm’s Lansing office, focusing her practice on insurance defense.

Why it Matters: Ms. Lofton represents clients with personal injury claims including no-fault cases for several years. She has routinely secured early dismissals through successful motions and negotiated favorable settlements for her clients. Learn more.

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  1. Department of Labor Issues New Rule on Independent Contractors

This week, the US Department of Labor issued a new rule modifying its analysis for determining whether a worker is an employee, or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule is effective on March 11, 2024.

Why it Matters: We previously reported on the Department of Labor publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding classification of employee or independent contractor under the FLSA. Under this final rule effective on March 11, 2024, it will provide clearer guidance for employers and how they determine their workers’ classifications, and further protect employees from misclassification.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Andrew J. Moore Elected to Board of Directors of Catholic Bar Association

We are pleased to announce that attorney ​Andrew J. Moore has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Catholic Bar Association, a national bar association with members in all 50 states. “I am honored to be elected to the Board of Directors, and I look forward to continuing the mission of the Catholic Bar Association,” said Andrew Moore.

Why it Matters: Andrew focuses his practice on general litigation matters, insurance defense, estate and trust administration, real estate transactions, family law, and criminal defense. His experience covers a range of practice areas, from out of court matters such as assisting clients in estate planning and business and tax matters to representing clients at trial in insurance, divorce, and criminal defense proceedings. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Lansing Catholic Lawyers Guild. Read more.

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  1. Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Required to Redraw Seven House Districts

A three-judge panel ordered this week that the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission redraw seven state House districts by February 2nd, after it was ruled unconstitutional.

Why it Matters: Last year, a group of voters sued the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission alleging that the Commission had violated the federal Voting Rights Act by drawing maps that impacted black voters’ opportunity to elect their preferred candidates.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Danielle Lofton
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Litigation | Andrew Moore
Election Law

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – November 24, 2023

  1. Michigan Minimum Wage Set for Small Increase for 2024

Michigan’s minimum wage is set to increase on January 1, 2024, per the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 which establishes the annual schedule of increases. The minimum hourly wage will increase to $10.33 per hour; the 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 will increase to $8.78 per hour; the tipped employee rate of hourly pay increases to $3.93 per hour; and the training wage of $4.25 per hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged.

Why it Matters: As we approach the new year, t’s important to be aware of new laws, and changes to existing laws, that are set to take effect as of January 1, 2024. Contact us with any questions.

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  1. Streamline Corporate Transparency Act Reporting with a FinCEN Identifier

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), announced and elaborated on the use and availability of FinCEN identifiers. Under this new guidance, FinCEN identifiers may be crucial for business owners, particularly for those managing multiple entities.

Why it Matters: A FinCEN identifier is a unique number assigned by FinCEN to individuals and reporting companies, streamlining the reporting process under the CTA. Businesses will need to be prepared come 2024 for the new reporting requirements. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorneys.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Exceed $262 Million in October

Cannabis sales surpassed $262 million in October, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $258,474,612.51, while medical sales came in at $4,416,590.58, totaling $262,891,203.09.

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. Package of Clean Energy Bills Head to Governor’s Whitmer’s Desk

A package of bills, including one that would require companies to make 100% of their energy through renewables such as solar and wind by 2040, and also seeks to reduce energy waste, among other objectives, is on its way to Governor Whitmer’s desk for signature after passing both the Senate and House.

Why it Matters: Clean energy legislation is a major priority for Michigan Democrats but is opposed by Republicans and has received pushback from many business groups, who argue the legislation would increase energy costs.

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  1. CRA Issues Bulletin for Product Recall

On November 20, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), issued a bulletin for a voluntary product recall, after it was discovered that the product exceeds the maximum dosage of 10mg of THC per serving.

Why it Matters: It is important for cannabis producers to adhere to the rules and regulations when handling medical and adult-use cannabis, otherwise they can face product recalls and fines and/or penalties.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

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

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – November 17, 2023

  1. Withdrawing Your Employee Retention Credit Claim: Navigating the New IRS Process

The ERC is a refundable tax credit intended for businesses that kept employees on their payroll while facing economic hardships caused by the pandemic. However, not long after its introduction, issues surfaced. Some businesses, influenced by the aggressive marketing of ERC promoters, have filed claims without fully meeting the eligibility criteria, leading to a slew of inaccurate claims.

Why it Matters: In order to provide a safe harbor to those entities that may have filed such false or inaccurate claims, the IRS has established a new withdrawal process. This measure is designed to aid businesses in re-evaluating the accuracy of their ERC claims and wish to avoid the penalties and other complications of incorrect filings. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. CRA Suspends Licenses of Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana Processor

On November 15, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) suspended the medical and adult-use marijuana processor licenses of Michigan Investments 10, Inc, after it was determined that both businesses violated various administrative rules.

Why it Matters: After onsite inspections and reviews of the statewide monitoring system (Metrc) data, the CRA discovered that the businesses incorrectly entered data into the monitoring system and failed to properly track large quantities of product as well as other violations.

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  1. CRA Publishes October 2023 Data: Average Price Hovers

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in October was $97.62, a decrease from $100.14 in September. This is still a decrease from October 2022, where the average price was $102.65.

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. Package of Clean Energy Bills Head to Governor’s Whitmer’s Desk

A package of bills, including one that would require companies to make 100% of their energy through renewables such as solar and wind by 2040, and also seeks to reduce energy waste, among other objectives, is on its way to Governor Whitmer’s desk for signature after passing both the Senate and House.

Why it Matters: Clean energy legislation is a major priority for Michigan Democrats but is opposed by Republicans and has received pushback from many business groups, who argue the legislation would increase energy costs.

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  1. Corporate Transparency Act Takes Effect January 1, 2024

The federal Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) takes effect on January 1, 2024. It will require many companies, including small businesses, to report certain beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which is a division of the Treasury Department. We previously summarized key aspects of the CTA in a post on our blog, which you can find here.

Why it Matters: Willful failure to file an initial or updated report with FinCEN is subject to a $500/day fine (up to $10,000) and imprisonment for up to two years. If you have any questions about your compliance obligations, filing deadlines, or any other questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Sean Gallagher

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 – 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 – July 28, 2023

  1. Detroit City Council Approves Amendment that Gives Cannabis Businesses More Options on Where to Locate

The zoning amendment shrinks the distance various cannabis businesses must be located from “controlled uses” (such as liquor stores) from 1,000 feet to 750 feet. It also allows cannabis businesses to be located 500 feet from each other—previously they were required to be 1,000 feet apart. It’s still uncertain when the amendment will take effect.

Why it Matters: The amendment passed in advance of Detroit accepting a new round of applications for cannabis dispensaries, micro businesses, and consumption lounges.

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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. CRA Publishes June 2023 Data, Average Price Decreases Slightly

Per data from the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail price for adult-use sale of an ounce of cannabis is $89.27, a small decrease from $90.64 in May. This is still a large decrease from the average price in June 2022, when it was $122.43.

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. Avoiding a Strike, UPS and Teamsters Settle Labor Negotiations

Earlier this week, UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters) reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement, avoiding a possible strike when the current contract would have expired August 1, 2023.

Why it Matters: It was estimated that the potential UPS strike could have cost the US economy  more than $7 billion, with $4 billion in losses for consumers and small businesses.

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  1. Client Alert: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2023!

In Notice 2022-59 the Internal Revenue Service set forth the PCORI amount imposed on insured and self-funded health plans for policy and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023.

Why it Matters: Notice 2022-59 sets the adjusted applicable dollar amount used to calculate the fee at $3.00. Specifically, this fee is imposed per average number of covered lives for plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023. For self-funded plans, the average number of covered lives is calculated by one of three methods: (1) the actual count method; (2) the snapshot method; or (3) the Form 5500 method. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston
Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – March 17, 2023

  1. Business Education Series – Teaching Leadership

Hosted at the Lansing Regional Chamber on Wednesday, March 22 at 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., the March Business Education Series will have Brain Town, founder and CEO of Michigan Creative, who will discuss how to inspire your staff to be the leaders they all have inside of them.

Why it Matters: Brian will also show you how to write core values that can guide your business and help form an unstoppable team. Attendees will learn how to write and use core values, leadership tips, and ways to inspire greatness. Business owners and leaders are encouraged to attend! Learn more.

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  1. How Patents Protect Your Business

A patent is a legal monopoly for protecting a utilitarian device, system, machine, composition or process. A patent owner has the right to prevent others from making, using, selling or importing a protected invention for a limited time.

Why it Matters: The U.S. is a “first-to-file” system, so it is imperative that an inventor keep the details of their invention confidential until a patent application has been filed. Also, timing is of the essence to prevent a competitor from winning the race to the Patent Office. Learn more.

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  1. Noteworthy Michigan Cannabis Brand Put into Receivership

Skymint Brands, a high-profile Michigan consumer cannabis brand, was placed into receivership on March 7. According to a lawsuit filed by Tropics, LP against Skymint’s parent company, Green Peak Industries, Inc., Tropics is owed more than $127 million in loans that are in default.

Why it Matters: While Michigan has experienced strong sales of recreational marijuana as a whole, prices per ounce have fallen significantly, making it difficult for many dispensaries to generate profits. The fact that Skymint’s assets were put into receivership is also noteworthy, as state court receivership has become an alternative to bankruptcy for distressed cannabis companies. Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, companies can’t access federal bankruptcy to reorganize or liquidate.

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  1. CRA Publishes February 2023 Data, Average Price Hovers Near All-Time Low

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency recently published its latest monthly data, showing that the average price for an ounce of cannabis is $86.00, an increase from the all-time low of $80.16 in January of this year.

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. Ten Reasons 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: Here are a few reasons why you and/or your family may want to consider a family cottage succession plan. Prevents a joint owner from forcing the sale of the cottage through an action for partition, prevents transfer of an interest in the cottage outside the family, protects owners from creditor claims, and establishes a framework for making decisions affecting the cottage. See the complete list from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Intellectual Property | Jared Roberts
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

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 – February 3, 2023

1. Michigan Legislature Expands EITC Credit

The Michigan legislature recently passed a bill expanding Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The approved legislation retroactively increased the state’s EITC to 30% of the federal credit, where it is estimated to impact over 700,000 low-income workers.

Why it Matters: Per the Michigan League for Public Policy, upping the state’s EITC credit means that for individuals and their families who are eligible can receive an average of $750 credit per family.

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2. CRA Publishes December 2022 Data, Average Price Drops

According to recent monthly datapublished by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail flower price of an ounce of cannabis is $90.68, an all-time low and more than a 50% decrease compared to last year’s December 2021 average price of $184.90.

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 attorneysif you have any questions.

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3. Michigan Legislature Approves $1.1 Billion Supplemental Spending Bill

The Michigan Legislature on Thursday approved a supplemental spending bill totaling $1.1 billion over two years. The spending includes $150 million to deposit into the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, which the state has used to pay major incentives to manufacturers with plans to build batteries and electric vehicles, and $150 million to develop a tax credit program to reduce housing costs.

Why it Matters: The bill, one of the first acts of the Democrat-controlled legislature, generated some controversy. Republicans complained that there was insufficient time to review the bills, and raised questions about how some of the spending is to be allocated.

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4. Upcoming Changes to 529 Plans Following SECURE Act 2.0

President Biden signed the SECURE Act 2.0 into law on December 29, 2022. Under certain conditions, Section 126 of the Act will amend the IRS Code to allow tax and penalty free rollovers from 529 accounts to Roth IRAs.

Why it Matters: There has been a decline in 529 accounts because families are worried about needing to take non-qualified withdrawals of leftover funds within the account, thus incurring a penalty. Section 126 will provide individuals with an option to make better use of leftover funds within a 529 account. Section 126 will become effective with respect to distributions after December 31, 2023. Learn more on the topic.

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5. What You Need to Know About Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal document that allows you to provide for the care of your beloved pet if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. A pet trust can be created as a standalone document, or as part of a revocable (living) trust or will. In addition, a durable power of attorney can provide instructions to an agent for the care of a pet during your lifetime.

Why it Matters: Estate planning with pets in mind is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of, even when the owners can no longer care for themselves. Learn more about how to effectively care for your pets if you become incapacitated or pass away.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker