Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – May 19, 2023

  1. Plans for Binational Electric Vehicle Corridor Announced

On Tuesday, May 16, the United States and Canada announced plans to launch a binational electric vehicle corridor stretching from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Quebec City. The corridor will include fast EV chargers approximately every 50 miles along the 872-mile route.

Why it Matters: In announcing the plans, officials said the plan would increase domestic manufacturing, strengthen supply chains and create jobs while supporting climate and alternative energy transportation goals.


  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Surpass $245 Million in April

Cannabis sales peaked over $245 million in April, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $238,211,384.43, while medical sales came in at $7,842,858.60, altogether totaling $246,054,243.03.

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


  1. May 24 Business Education Series

During this two-presentation dynamic program, attendees will learn about the SBA 504 Loan from Coty Gould with the MCDC (Michigan Certified Development Corporation), and Government Contracts from Mike Hindenach with APEX (formerly known as PTAC Procurement Technical Assistance Centers).

Why it Matters: The SBA 504 Loan presentation you will learn the basics of SBA 504 loan, the benefits and how to qualify and apply. MCDC is a non-profit certified by the US SBA to administer the SBA 504 Loan Program in Michigan. The SBA 504 loan provides small businesses with low-rate, long-term loans for building purchases, construction, and machinery and equipment. In addition, these loans require a smaller down payment than what traditional lenders can offer, allowing the business owner to preserve capital. Learn more and to register.


  1. Fraser Trebilcock Welcomes Paula C. Spicer to the Firm

Fraser Trebilcock is pleased to announce the hiring of attorney Paula C. Spicer who will work primarily in the firm’s Lansing office.

Why it Matters: Ms. Spicer joins Fraser Trebilcock with expertise in complex real estate and commercial transactions, property tax appeals, health care facility formation, business operations, zoning law, and structuring of high-complexity laboratory facilities. Ms. Spicer also worked as an attorney in multi-family affordable housing financing through HUD (Housing and Urban Development). Learn more.


  1. CRA Publishes April 2023 Data, Average Price Hovers

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis is $87.76, a small increase from $86.87 in March. This is still a large decrease from April 2022, where the average price was $133.19.

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

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Mike Ashton
Business & Tax | Paula Spicer
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – November 4, 2022

  1. IRS Announces 2023 Cost-of-Living Adjustment for Retirement and Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced 2023 cost-of-living adjustments for retirement and health and welfare benefit plans. The significant adjustments reflect the increase in inflation over the last year. The adjustments are detailed in IRS Notice 2022-55. For example, the contribution limit for a Simple 401(k) will increase to $15,500 in 2023 from $14,000 in 2022, and for a Health FSA, limits will increase to $3,050 in 2023 from $2,850 in 2022.

Why it Matters: Business owners and employers should be aware of these adjustments and share this information with employees as we approach the new year. If you have any questions regarding these adjustments, please contact our Employee Benefits team.


  1. Viridis North, LLC Can Proceed with Lawsuit Against CRA

In November 2021, the CRA (formerly known as the MRA), issued its largest ever marijuana recall because of concerns over safety tests conducted by two companies, Viridis Laboratories, LLC, and Viridis North, LLC. These two companies filed a lawsuit against four individuals who were employed by the CRA in their individual capacities. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney granted an order in part motion to dismiss all claims alleged by Viridis Laboratories, LLC, and Viridis North, LLC, except for, “Plaintiff Viridis North’s claim for violation of its substantive due process rights.” Viridis Labs. v. Kluytman, 1:22-cv-283, 12(W.D. Mich. Oct. 27, 2022).

Why it Matters: The decision by the Court allows Viridis North LLC to proceed with its lawsuit in determining whether or not there was a violation of their substantive due process rights stemming from the November 2021 marijuana recall. Fraser Trebilcock attorneys will monitor the situation as developments continue.


  1. Year End Gift Tax Planning Perspective

If you’re thinking about beginning an annual gifting program, or want to continue a program you’ve already started, there are some things you should know. From an estate and gift tax planning perspective, the most commonly used method for tax-free giving is the annual gift tax exclusion. This method allows you to give up to $16,000 for 2022 (increasing to $17,000 in 2023) to each donee.

Why it Matters: The method allows you to give up $16,000 without reducing your estate and lifetime gift tax exclusion amount. It’s also important to note that there is no limit to the number of people to whom you may make such gifts, and that the annual gift tax exclusion is applied on a per-donee basis.


  1. Department of Labor Issues New Proposed Rule on Independent Contractors

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, would change the standard for analyzing a worker’s classification as either an employee or independent contractor.

Why it Matters: Employers who misclassify employees can face severe financial consequences. That’s why it is important that organizations remain diligent in analyzing their workers’ classifications. Learn more on the subject.


  1. EV Company Relocating to MI Recipient of Funds from MSF

A Utah-based electric vehicle company that is set to relocate their headquarters to southeastern Michigan, received a $2.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund to aid in the move.

Why it Matters: Officials in Michigan have been working hard to grow Michigan’s economy, and these programs are an incentive for businesses that are looking to relocate or expand their footprint in the state.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Employee Benefits | Robert Burgee
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications | Michael Ashton

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – September 23, 2022

  1. CRA’s Fines Eight Cannabis Businesses Over Late Financial Reports

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency recently published their monthly disciplinary reports and eight cannabis businesses across the state have been fined for failing to submit annual financial reports by the required deadline.

Why it Matters: What comes with the territory of operating a business in a highly regulated arena, business owners both medical and recreational will need to be aware of deadlines for required financial reporting of their cannabis business operations.


  1. Majority of Legislators Could Run Again If Prop 1 Passes

A new analysis from the Citizens Research Council says that a majority of legislators, 89% of the 737 Michigan legislators, could run again for a seat if the Prop 1 (term limits and financial disclosures) ballot proposal passes.

Why it Matters: If this ballot proposal passes, the majority of past legislators have the option of running again for a legislative seat. Fraser Trebilcock election law attorneys will continue to follow and update news surrounding this ballot proposal.


  1. Importance of Signing an Operating Agreement for Your LLC

It happens more often than individuals think and something small businesses should heed is the need to adopt an operating agreement at the start of your LLC. It may seem like an unnecessary step when you’re starting out but waiting until the time is right or until you get big enough, can often lead to forgetting about it completely.

Why it Matters: Failure to sign an operating agreement for your LLC may lead to issues for your small business that would otherwise be avoided. Learn more from a Fraser Trebilcock attorney on this topic.


  1. Whitmer Names New Head of Cannabis Regulatory Agency

Brian Hanna, formerly an analyst in the Lansing Computer Crimes unit at the Michigan State Police, and deputy for the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, was tapped by Governor Whitmer to lead Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (“CRA”). Immediately prior to his interim appointment, which took effect September 19, Hanna was the CRA’s manager of field operations, inspections and investigations.

Why it Matters:  Hanna replaces former CRA executive director Andrew Brisbo, who will now lead the state’s Bureau of Construction Codes. In a statement, Hanna said “I look forward to reconnecting with stakeholders to ensure we have a clear and concise regulatory framework for oversight of this industry to promote continued growth in Michigan.”


  1. Will Electric Vehicle Incentives Under Inflation Reduction Act Actually Hurt Sales?

The Inflation Reduction Act includes billions in incentives for electric vehicle adoption, including $7,500 tax credits for EV purchases. However, many automotive manufacturers are not happy with the rules the bill imposes for vehicles to qualify for the credits.

Why it Matters: The opposition argue that the manufacturing, sourcing, and pricing rules, which require significant domestic sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing, are too aggressive and could result in most EV’s not qualifying for the federal incentives – therefore stifling sales for many manufacturers.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Michael Ashton

Business & TaxRobert Burgee

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Election LawGarett Koger

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – August 19, 2022

  1. Insurance Agents Who Make a Material Error on Policy Application Now May be Liable after Michigan Court of Appeals Ruling

On August 4, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in Holman v. Farm Bureau Gen. Ins. Co. of Michigan, No. 357473, that an insurance agent who makes a material error on a policy application may be liable.

Why it Matters: This case concerns the scope of an agent’s duty in preparing a policy application for a customer, and makes clear that an agent can be held liable for mistakes. While the court noted that a plaintiff’s duty to review the application could be taken into account when assessing fault, that does not bar a negligence claim against a defendant/agent.


  1. Will Electric Vehicle Incentives Under Inflation Reduction Act Actually Hurt Sales?

The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law on Tuesday, August 16, includes billions in incentives for electric vehicle adoption, including $7,500 tax credits for EV purchases. However, many automotive manufacturers are not happy with the rules the bill imposes for vehicles to qualify for the credits.

Why it Matters: Opponents of the new guidelines argue that pricing, sourcing and manufacturing rules, which require significant domestic sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing, are too aggressive and could result in most EVs not qualifying for the federal incentives—therefore stifling sales for many manufacturers.


  1. Court Ruling Prohibits Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Under Michigan Law

The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is discrimination prohibited by the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (the “ELCRA”) in the case of Rouch World, LLC, v. Department of Civil Rights.

Why it Matters: Employers with 15 or more employees were already prohibited by federal law from discriminating on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation under Title VII. However, small employers in Michigan are now also subject to the same rules.


  1. Citizens for Better Social Equality Ballot Initiative Struck Down By Detroit Election Commission

A ballot initiative aimed at replacing the City of Detroit’s current marijuana ordinance was struck down by the Detroit Election Commission after it was determined the initiative did not have enough signatures required to secure a ballot spot under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.

Why it Matters: The group behind the proposed initiative, Citizens for Better Equality, were fighting an uphill battle as the Detroit City Council vehemently opposed the initiative and the city’s Law Department had stated that the group does not have enough valid signatures. This is the latest development in a turbulent time for the city as they have yet to establish and begin selling recreational cannabis. Fraser Trebilcock cannabis attorneys will continue to monitor the situation for updates.


  1. Michigan Job Growth Projected Through 2030

Earlier this week, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget projected that Michigan’s job growth through 2030 would be 8.8%, or an estimated 374,930 jobs.

Why it Matters: Officials looking at industries who are seeing the highest growth rates are ones that are the result of the recovery from the pandemic. While it is observed that leisure and hospitality industries will lead the pack in terms of growth, other industries such as farming, fishing, and forestry, are at projected to decline.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Law | Emily Vanderlaan

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Michael Ashton

Labor & Employment | Aaron Davis

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani