The Future of Michigan’s Booming Cannabis Industry      

View the full video playlist from this event: 

Last week, the Chamber’s “The Business of Cannabis: Impact and Opportunities” showcased the potential of Michigan’s already booming cannabis industry. Speakers shed light on the future of drug testing in the workplace, economic opportunities in the industry, and workforce development through criminal record expungement. 

“It’s not just a medicine, it’s always been a business,” said Denise A. Pollicella, founder and managing partner at Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan. “It is on pace to bring in more revenue than that of the national football league.” 

Since Michigan voters moved to legalize the adult use of cannabis last year, businesses have begun to revise their hiring and management procedures when it comes to drug testing and criminal records. Eric Mahler, assistant general counsel at Meritor Inc., said the automobile components manufacturer may consider revising their policy on cannabis. 

“There’s a struggle in our company whether or not to keep the zero-tolerance policy when we need workers,” said Mahler. “Are we going to sacrifice workers that we really need?” 

For the people who served time behind bars for cannabis-related crimes, most still face the repercussions even with the legalization of adult use.  

Most people formerly incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes are not taking advantage of expungement laws, said Maurice Morton, managing partner of The Morton Law Group. This hinders their ability to obtain jobs, which is why law firms like The Morton Law Group offer expungement services for free. 

“There’s talk of automatic expungement which is what is needed,” said Morton. “It’s necessary to make it easier for them because jobs in this state are great, they’re high paying.”  

The industry’s growth is also generating new job opportunities in Michigan. One in-demand job is as a “budtender” which are salesclerks who guide buyers with their cannabis purchases, explained Allison Ireton, founder of cannabis dispensary Bloom City Club. 

“These are $20 an hour jobs that aren’t going away,” said Ireton. “They’re revitalizing retail. You can’t order this on Amazon.” 

Shamoun appointed to state’s cannabis regulation advisory group

Attorney Alan Shamoun of Plunkett Cooney – one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms – has been appointed to serve as a member of the state’s Adult-Use Marijuana Stakeholder Workgroups.

Shamoun volunteered to serve on the attorney workgroup as part of his practice, which includes a focus on representing cannabis businesses in the medical and recreational use sectors. He is one of only 13 attorneys statewide to be selected for service on the workgroups, which were formed by Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

The purpose of the attorney workgroup is to provide input and advice to the Michigan Bureau of Marijuana Regulation on topics related to the Michigan Regulation and Taxation Act. The new law allows legal use of marijuana for people age 21 and older.

Shamoun applies his tax and business law expertise in the cannabis industry by assisting clients involved in the state and local business application processes. He also works with them once they are licensed to remain compliant with numerous industry regulations.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to assist the state with its implementation of the new regulation and taxation act,” said Shamoun, who practices in Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office. “There are a lot of issues to consider, and I am glad to be able to provide a voice for my clients in this process.”

The attorney workgroup will begin meeting this month in the office of the Michigan Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, which is located at 2407 North Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906.

Shamoun is a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Business Transactions & Planning Practice Group and the firm’s Cannabis Law Industry Group. He focuses his practice primarily on tax conflicts involving individuals and corporations. His expertise also includes the areas of corporate tax and estate planning.

Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of legal services to Michigan’s medical and recreational use cannabis industry. The firm’s attorneys helped secure some of the first business licenses issued in the state, and their expertise extends to such issues as business law, commercial litigation, employment law, environmental law, government affairs and real estate.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs nearly 300 employees, including approximately 150 attorneys in eight Michigan cities, as well as in Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm, which provides a range of transactional and litigation services, has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell. Plunkett Cooney was also named by Crain’s Detroit Business as its first ever Law Firm of the Year.

For more information about Shamoun’s appointment to the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation Attorney Workgroup, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008 or jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

###

Dykema Introduces New Cannabis Law Practice

Dykema, a leading national law firm, today announced the launch of its Cannabis Law practice, creating an integrated and specialized offering for clients navigating the myriad issues that arise from operating in the cannabis industry. The practice group’s expertise spans the political, licensing, regulatory compliance, and business services space, and includes senior lawyers and lobbyists in states across the country. The practice will be led by Lance Boldrey, a member in the firm’s Lansing office, who focuses his practice on regulated industries.

Dykema has a long history of representing businesses in heavily regulated industries. While the firm has been engaged in the development of the emerging cannabis sector for nearly a decade, serving as counsel to Michigan’s 2008 medical marijuana initiative, the formal group is now launching in response to increasingly sophisticated and complex client needs. While the rapid industry growth provides unparalleled business opportunities, the uncertain political environment imposes extraordinary legal complexity and uncertainty.

“Dykema understands the complex nature and volatility of the laws and regulations in this area. Further, we have the experience and a proven track record of success advising those involved in the cannabis industry,” said Boldrey. “This booming industry has a host of brand-new legal minefields to navigate, and our team is providing counsel to support our clients’ business objectives.”

Among other cannabis-related matters, Dykema lawyers and lobbyists have:
• Served as counsel to the Coalition for Compassionate Care, the committee that drafted and won passage of the 2008 ballot initiative that created the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act
• Helped draft Michigan Public Act 512 and Public Act 514 of 2011, amendments to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act
• Represent the National Patients Rights Association advocating on behalf of medical marijuana patients
• Provided advice with regard to labeling regulations for edible cannabis products
• Counseled cannabis-related clients with regard to intellectual property laws, including trademarking names and logos for cannabis-related businesses
• Advocated on behalf of an entity seeking a medical marijuana dispensary license in Illinois
• Oversaw zoning and real estate matters for an Illinois-based dispensary company
• Represented a company with cannabinoid medications in pharmaceutical litigation
• Counseled various business clients with regard to employment matters and policies related to employee cannabis use
• Assisted various cannabis-related organizations with nonprofit and campaign finance compliance
• Advised investors in dispensaries and CBD oil companies
• Handled SEC-related issues for a California cannabusiness executive

“At the state level, more than half of the country allows some form of medical cannabis use, and four states have legalized recreational usage, with several more, including California, having recreational use initiatives on their ballot this November,” added Dykema attorney Doug Mains, who came to Dykema after serving the Michigan Legislature in a lead staff role on marijuana issues. “The Dykema team has been central to the development and passage of many key pro-cannabis regulations. We know the industry inside and out and can quickly advise clients on complex issues to ensure that legal challenges do not stand in the way of growth.”

“Dykema lawyers and lobbyists have represented our organization on a number of state and local issues,” said Robin Schneider, Legislative Liaison for the National Patients Rights Association, a medical cannabis advocacy organization. “Not only are they extremely knowledgeable about the legislative and political processes, but they have also worked closely with us to learn more about the cannabis industry and all of the issues that cannabis-related businesses face. Dykema’s lawyers and lobbyists have always been professional, passionate about their work, and proactive in keeping us informed.”

The members of Dykema’s group come from a wide range of practices areas, including administrative law & regulation, business and financial services, food & beverage, government policy & practice, intellectual property, land use & zoning, labor & employment, leasing & property management, political compliance, elections & campaign finance, product safety, real estate, and taxation. Dykema lawyers in the CannabisLaw practice serve as members of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the National Cannabis Bar Association, and the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section. To keep apprised of developments related to marijuana law and policy, visit Dykema’s Cannabis Law Blog at www.cannabis-law-blog.com.

About Dykema
Dykema serves business entities worldwide on a wide range of complex legal issues. Dykema lawyers and other professionals in 15 U.S. offices work in close partnership with clients – from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies – to deliver outstanding results, unparalleled service and exceptional value in every engagement.

To learn more, visit www.dykema.com and follow Dykema on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Dykema.