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 – July 1, 2022

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – July 1, 2022; Legal, Legislative, and Regulatory Insights

  1. Bills Easing Regulations on Michigan Child Care Providers Signed Into Law

Governor Whitmer recently signed into law Michigan House Bills 5041-5048, which increase the number of children family child care and group care homes can serve, and also lowers the minimum age for workers at such businesses.

Why it Matters: Many families struggle to find quality, affordable child care, which is partly to blame for the difficulty businesses in Michigan, and across the country, have had in finding workers over the last several years. In a statement, Governor Whitmer described child care as “the backbone of our economy.” The signing of this package of bills is also significant because it had support from Republicans and business groups, which may be a sign that more bipartisan legislation is on the way in the runup to the November elections.


  1. Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Texting While Driving Bills

The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved a package of bills expanding the scope of Michigan’s texting while driving laws, which would make requirements more stringent and penalties for violations more costly. The bills explicitly address social media use and live streaming.

Why it Matters: Distracted driving is dangerous. In 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving is also costly for drivers, as those who violate distracted driving laws tend to see their insurance rates shoot up.


  1. Marijuana Prices Plummet 41% in Michigan

In a recent public meeting, Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency Director Andrew Brisbo stated that legal marijuana prices fell 41% over the past year in Michigan.

Why it Matters: With inflation surging across the economy, falling prices in the marijuana industry mean that profits may be hard to come by. One of the secondary effects of price deflation is the risk of what is called “potency inflation.” In general, marijuana that is more potent—higher THC levels—is more expensive. That can lead to “lab shopping,” which involves producers trying to find a testing lab that will deliver high THC results so that more can be charged to the consumer.


  1. Housing Market Cools Following Historic Run-Up

The National Association of Realtors recently reported that existing-home sales in May dropped 3.4% from April (four consecutive months of declining sales) and by 8.6% since May of last year. The latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index also shows home price growth slowing, as well as a jump in the inventory of homes for sale.

Why it Matters: The residential real estate market is an important indicator of, and driver of, economic vitality across the broader economy. The early signs of a slowdown in the real estate market correlates to increases in mortgage rates due to inflation. Rates for a 30-year mortgage have rocketed higher, from around 3% earlier this year to over 6%, which has significantly reduced buying power for many people.


  1. Sixth Circuit Draws the “State Action” Line at a City Manager’s Personal Facebook Page

The Sixth Circuit issued an opinion earlier this week in a case involving a city manager who shared both personal and city-related content on his personal Facebook page. After the city manager deleted comments made by a disgruntled citizen on posts about city policies, the citizen sued alleging that his First Amendment rights were violated. The lower court dismissed the citizen’s lawsuit, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed, ruling that under the facts of this case the city manager’s actions did not constitute “state action.”

Why it Matters: In this 21st Century digital era, where there are virtually no barriers to communication, it’s said that we are all “publishers,” especially on social media. This case helps draw the line for municipalities and their employees as to what communications they engage in may constitute personal action vs. state action.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Defense | Emily Vanderlaan

Real Estate | Jared Roberts

Cannabis | Klint Kesto

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis

Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency Abandons Plan to Allow Hemp to be Synthetically Converted to THC

Citing safety concerns and the lack of scientific and public health data, on April 15, 2022, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) dropped its plan to allow hemp to be synthetically converted to THC.

The decision was handed down just days after the regulatory body was renamed from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and assumed authority over hemp-derived products, pursuant to Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order No. 2022-1.

According to draft rules proposed earlier this year, hemp growers would have been permitted to sell hemp to marijuana processors, who could then convert it to THC for use in edibles, vaping cartridges, and other products being sold in the licensed marijuana market.

While safety was cited as the primary reason for dropping the proposal, issues related to business and competition likely also influenced the CRA’s decision. Specifically, hemp growers, including out-of-state growers, could have posed a new competitive threat to the state’s existing marijuana industry.

Currently, licensed businesses are permitted to extract THC oil from marijuana. If the CRA’s plans to allow hemp to be synthetically converted to THC were to proceed, it could lead to the existing producers going out of business.

If you have any questions about the impact of this decision by the CRA, or the cannabis industry in general in Michigan, please contact Klint Kesto or your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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

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 or (313) 965-9043.

MRA Proposed Expansion of Class A Microbusiness License

Last year the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) proposed changes to marijuana industry rules that would expand the state’s Class A microbusiness license.

Introduced in late July 2021, the proposed rule changes would add two new license types and reduce fees and costs associated with obtaining and renewing licenses. Previously, a Class A microbusiness could grow, process, and sell its own marijuana and marijuana products, but not purchase wholesale products from other licensed businesses for resale. The proposed rules would make the following changes:

  • Double the amount of plants a microbusiness can cultivate, from 150 to 300;
  • Allow for the purchase of marijuana concentrate and marijuana-infused products from licensed processors; and
  • Authorize licensees to purchase or accept mature plants from an individual, registered qualifying patient, or registered primary caregiver.

There is one important caveat – the new microbusiness license would ban in-house processing that was previously allowed under the old license.

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association (MCMA) has stated its opposition to the  proposed changes, arguing that the proposed Class A microbusiness license changes exceed the MRA’s authority to broaden license types under state statute.

We will continue to monitor this situation and other important developments in the Michigan legal 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 or (313) 965-9043. 

Michigan Law Imposes New Product Liability Insurance Requirements on Legal Cannabis Licensees

At the end of 2021, the Michigan legislature passed and Governor Whitmer signed into law a new cannabis liability insurance law that mandates proof of product liability insurance coverage for licensed cannabis businesses and new applicants. The new rules take effect March 30, 2022.

Michigan Senate Bill 461 (Public Act 160 of 2021) requires every licensee or applicant to file with the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Authority (MRA): “[P]roof of financial responsibility for liability for bodily injury to lawful users resulting from the manufacture, distribution, transportation, or sale of adulterated marihuana or adulterated marihuana-infused product in an amount not less than $100,000.00 for each license.”

The statute defines “adulterated marihuana” as “a product sold as marihuana that contains any unintended substance or chemical or biological matter other than marihuana that causes adverse reaction after ingestion or consumption.”

Additional requirements include:

  • The insurance policy is issued by a licensed insurance company or licensed captive insurance company in Michigan.
  • The insurance policy does not include a provision relieving an insurer from liability for payment of any claim for which the insured may be held liable under the act.
  • Covers bodily injuries to a qualifying patient, including injuries that are caused by the intentional conduct of the licensee (but not if the licensee acted with the intent to harm).

In addition, a licensee must file an “attestation of compliance” with the requirements of the statute with the MRA, on a form approved by the MRA, which is signed by the officer of the licensed insurance company or licensed captive insurance company that issues the policy.

To the extent a licensee fails to maintain proof of financial responsibility as required under statute, the MRA will immediately suspend the licensee’s license until such proof is provided. A licensee also cannot cancel required liability insurance unless the licensee gives the MRA 30 days’ prior written notice and procures new proof of financial responsibility and delivers that proof to the MRA within 30 days after giving notice.

Given that this law takes effect on March 30, 2022, it is important for existing licensees and applicants to move fast in order to meet its requirements. For questions or assistance, 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 or (313) 965-9043. 

January Update: Legal, Legislative and Regulatory Developments Impacting the Michigan Cannabis Industry

Despite some bumps in the road—which are to be expected for any nascent industry—the year 2021 was a remarkable and record-breaking one for the legal cannabis industry in Michigan. As we gear up for what’s ahead in 2022, here are a few recent, noteworthy developments that those competing in the industry should be aware of.

Governor Signs Legislation Easing Financial Reporting Requirements for Medical Marijuana Growers

Medical marijuana growers in Michigan previously were required to submit financial statements to the Michigan Regulatory Agency (“MRA”) and the municipality in which they operate every state fiscal year. That requirement was eased with Governor Whitmer’s signing of Michigan House Bill 4921, which amends the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Act to allow medical marijuana growers to submit financial statements every three years. A copy of the bill, which became effective as of December 7, 2021, can be viewed here.

The MRA issued a bulletin on January 3, 2022, explaining that, based on the legislation, the MRA will revise the AFS report forms and combine the AFS requirements for medical and adult-use licensees into a consolidated report.

The MRA also explained that in the interim, the requirements for annual financial statements are as follows:

  • An annual financial statement will not be required for fiscal year 2022, unless a licensee is required to file a fiscal year 2022 report as a condition of a final order.
  • Licensees must file an annual financial statement for fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021.

Most Recent Sales Numbers Show that Industry is Strong

The MRA’s most recent financial numbers for Michigan’s adult-use marijuana market show strong sales in November of 2021 (the most recent data available from the MRA at the time this was published). Combined medical and recreational sales were approximately $153 million in November. In addition, a recent report by the Marijuana Policy Project estimates that Michigan will collect nearly $350 million in taxes related to recreational marijuana sales in 2021, which includes $80 million in sales tax and $270 million in excise tax.

Massive Marijuana Recall Cut in Half, MRA Asks Judge to Reconsider

In mid-November, the MRA issued a massive recall affecting more than $200 million in marijuana products tested by Viridis Laboratories and Viridis North over a three-month period. Viridis filed a lawsuit, and the Michigan Court of Claims, on December 3, partially granted Viridis’ request for a preliminary injunction that halted the recall for Viridis North but not Viridis Laboratories.

On December 15, the MRA requested that the judge reconsider his decision that limited the scope of the recall to just Viridis Laboratories. The MRA asserted that it had gathered more testing data since the judge’s initial decision and found 26 percent of Viridis North recalled and retested source packages failed microbial retesting for total yeast and mold.

On December 20, 2021, the Court of Claims denied the MRA’s motion for reconsideration.

We will continue to keep you apprised of these and other important developments in the Michigan legal 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 or (313) 965-9043. 

MRA Orders Largest Marijuana Product Recall in Michigan History

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) issued its largest marijuana recall ever on November 17 because of concerns over safety tests conducted by two companies.

Most products containing marijuana flower that had passed safety testing at Viridis Laboratories, LLC and Viridis North, LLC between August 10 and November 16 were recalled in a move that reportedly affected products sold at over 400 retail locations. The affected retailers were outlined in a 31-page Public Health and Safety Bulletin issued by the MRA. The recall did not impact inhalable marijuana concentrate products such as vape carts, live resin, distillate, and cannabis concentrate.

The value of the recalled marijuana products is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars and affected more than half the current stock for many retailers, according to multiple media reports.

The investigation is ongoing and additional findings may be released by the MRA at a later date.

The reasoning for the recall was “inaccurate and/or unreliable” microbial lab test results according to the MRA, although further details were not released by the agency. Microbial testing is required of cannabis products with the hope of eliminating products containing high levels of mold, bacteria, and yeast. Having a high level of those substances can lead to an increased risk of illness for users, including cases of E. coli and salmonella.

A large state recall mandated by the MRA also occurred in August 2020 after a marijuana flower failed safety and compliance testing for both mold and yeast.

What retailers and consumers should do with recalled products

Retailers are directed to properly dispose of any recalled products in adherence to MRA guidelines and along with processors must discontinue sales and transfers. Proof of product destruction must be sent to the MRA’s compliance email at Another option is for an affected product to be retested or sent back to the original licensee source.

Additionally, retailers must display recall notices in visible locations on their sales floors.

Customers who purchased the recalled product are expected to return those products to the retailer they purchased it from for disposal.

Product testing is at the heart of medical marijuana legislation

Proponents of a more heavily regulated medical marijuana market argue that a significant amount of marijuana sold in the state is done so illegally as part of an illicit market, which threatens the health and safety of consumers because there is no guarantee the products have been properly tested.

One of the outcomes of this debate is the recent introduction of bills in the Michigan Legislature that would limit the role and more heavily regulate caregivers in growing, storing, and distributing product.

Testing guidelines by the MRA are readily available online

The MRA has created and updated its Sampling and Testing Technical Guidance document for marijuana products. The basic tenet is that all sampling and analysis must be conducted by a laboratory licensed by the MRA and accredited to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by an International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) recognized accreditation body or by an entity approved by the MRA.

Our team will continue to keep you updated on this recall and related news, and the progress of any legislation impacting the marijuana industry in Michigan. 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 or (313) 965-9043. 

October Updates: Legal and Regulatory Developments Impacting the Michigan Cannabis Industry

In a burgeoning industry such as legal cannabis in Michigan, one of the things you can count on is a frequently changing legal and regulatory landscape. There were several noteworthy developments in October that those competing in the industry should be aware of.

Michigan House Committee Advances Bills that Would Impose More Stringent Regulations on Medical Marijuana Caregivers

On October 26, 2021, the Michigan House of Representatives Regulatory Reform Committee approved a package of bills that would limit the amount of marijuana that caregivers could grow, store and distribute.

In a previous article, we outlined the key changes the new legislation would impose on caregivers, including the creation of a new specialty medical grower license that includes a variety of regulations, if signed into law. One change that was added to the bills before passage in the committee was adding language that allows unlicensed caregivers to serve up to five patients from their primary residence, but only allow them to grow 24 marijuana plants at their home. Beyond that, a specialty medical grower license would be required.

We will continue to keep you updated on this legislation as it moves to the full House for a vote.

Movements to Decriminalize Psychedelics Gain Momentum on a Local Level

Efforts to decriminalize the possession and use of naturally occurring psychedelics are gaining steam in Michigan.

Proposal E, which would decriminalize personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults, is on the November 2nd ballot in Detroit.

In Grand Rapids, city commissioners recently voted to affirm a resolution that declares “support for state and federal legislative efforts that would decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi.”

In Ann Arbor, the city council passed a resolution to make enforcement of laws prohibiting certain psychedelics a low priority.

There are also efforts to decriminalize psychedelics taking place at the state level. Senate Bill 631 has been introduced which would decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi across Michigan.

Key Congressional House Committee Approved Bill to Federally Legalize Marijuana

While it happened in September (September 30), it’s worth noting in this October update that the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which would federally legalize marijuana and promote social equity.

The bill would:

  • Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA),
  • Enable people with cannabis convictions to have their records expunged
  • Create a federal tax on marijuana to support community reinvestment and other programs

The passage of the bill came one week after the full House of Representatives voted in favor of a defense spending bill that includes an amendment that would protect banks that serve cannabis businesses in states where they legally operate from being penalized by federal regulators.

We will continue to keep you apprised of further legal and regulatory developments. In the meantime, if you have any questions or require assistance, 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 or (313) 965-9043. 

Lawmakers Introduce the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act Which Would Impose More Stringent Regulations on Medical Marijuana Caregivers

An ongoing debate between medical marijuana caregivers and large commercial marijuana producers in Michigan over the role and rights of caregivers is now the subject of legislation introduced September 14 by Michigan legislators.

Introduced as the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act, and reflected in Michigan House Bills 5300-5302, the legislation would limit the amount of marijuana that caregivers could grow and distribute.

  • The legislation would reduce the number of patients allowed per caregiver from five to one, beginning March 21, 2022. This would limit the amount of plants a caregiver could grow at one time from 60 to 12 plants, with an additional 12 plants allowed for personal use.
  • The amount of harvested marijuana that a caregiver could keep on hand would be reduced from 15 ounces to 5 ounces.
  • Caregivers would have to register for a Specialty Medical Grower license, pursuant to which growers would be required to pay $500 application fees and have marijuana undergo safety testing.
  • Marijuana plants would also have to be grown in an indoor, secure facility.

As we addressed in a recent post, proponents of the bill argue that having unlicensed caregivers leads to public health and safety risks, and contributes greatly to billions in black market sales of marijuana in Michigan.

Activists who oppose the new licensing proposal argue that the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act would make Michigan marijuana users more dependent on large cannabis companies, which in turn would result in higher prices. Around 100 people rallied in support of individual caregivers at the State Capitol on September 15, a day after the new legislation was introduced.

We will continue to keep you apprised of further developments in this debate. In the meantime, if you have any questions or require assistance, 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 or (313) 965-9043.