When starting a cannabis business in Michigan, it’s important to abide by the complex state and federal laws that guide this business. Cannabis law firms can help protect your business and ensure that you are in compliance with the law. The industry is relatively new, so laws continue to evolve and change. A law firm that specializes in them will guide you through the process and help you avoid legal setbacks.
Benzinga researched law firms for cannabis companies and listed the top ones in the area.
The Best Law Firms for Cannabis Companies
Choosing the right cannabis law firm is an important step in protecting your business. You want to ensure that the law firm you choose has the experience and knowledge needed to navigate the complex cannabis laws in Michigan. Remember that law firms specializing in cannabis also need to understand federal law as it relates to cannabis so that you can get the best advice and representation.
Here are the best Michigan cannabis law firms Benzinga could find.
1. Foley, Baron, Metzger, Juip Attorneys (FBMJ)
Located in Livonia, Michigan, the FBMJ law firm has a staff that specializes in helping cannabis businesses get established and operate legally in the state of Michigan. The firm represents clients in all areas of cannabis including applications for licenses, business formation, renting and purchasing real estate for the business, contracts and compliance with state regulations.
Members of the firm who work with cannabis-related businesses include a licensed pharmacist, regulatory and environmental counsel and lawyers who specialize in professional negligence and commercial litigation.
Some of the things they have helped cannabis businesses with are:
- Matters related to the FDA
- Ensuring compliance with sterile and non-sterile compounding requirements
- Complex environmental claims such as chemical exposure and occupational hazard suits in Michigan as well as the U.S.
- Securing permits for state and federal land use
- Administrative law as it pertains to cannabis businesses
- Site audits
- HIPAA compliance and privacy
- Insurance assessment
- Identification and hiring of expert witnesses
- Air quality testing
- Licensure defense
2. Cannabis Counsel®
This law firm provides cannabis-only lawyers who can help budding cannabis businesses get off to the right start. The firm helps new businesses apply for and renew license, stay in compliance, understand business law as it relates to the cannabis industry and guide businesses on intellectual property law.
The law firm is located in Detroit, Michigan, and was started in 1999. Since then, it has worked tirelessly to legalize marijuana in Michigan and across the country. The firm claims that its extensive knowledge of the cannabis industry and the laws that surround it, along with the personal relationships it has formed over the years, can help new business owners who want to commercially grow cannabis, operate a distribution center or participate in the industry in some other legal way.
3. Dickinson Wright
This law firm chooses to take a comprehensive approach to the cannabis industry and represent cannabis companies in many areas. For instance, it offers counsel in licensing issues, finance, regulatory, compliance, labor, taxation, corporate formation and restructuring, real estate, SEC filings, intellectual property and distribution. The firm has offices in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Lansing, Saginaw, and Troy, Michigan.
Some of the things this firm has helped cannabis businesses with are:
- Assisted a cannabis cultivator, processor, and dispensary operator in legislative and regulatory affairs
- Worked with a bank on the financial aspects of a rapid test for the purity of cannabis
- Represented a company and helped them acquire a cannabis dispensary
- Helped investors negotiate a joint venture opportunity to pursue cultivation licenses
- Provided lobbying support for a state-wide ballot initiative in Michigan
4. Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan
Located in Howell and Troy, Michigan, the Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan was established in 2009 and has a combined 150 years of experience. The firm specializes in helping business owners start, manage and protect their cannabis business. The attorneys at the firm help businesses find the ideal location to sell their products, get the proper licensing and stay in compliance with the cannabis laws in Michigan.
The firm takes its clients on a three-step process to establish a legal cannabis business:
- Prequalification: This part of the process is the work that must be done to ready the business for the next step. It includes gathering all pertinent data that the firm then uses to apply for licenses.
- Municipal permitting: This aspect involves vetting a property and creating plans for the site that adhere to the local rules and regulations.
- Facility licensing: This form of assistance involves completing a licensing application and managing on-site inspections.
5. The Covert Law Firm, PLLC
The Covert Law firm represents entrepreneurs who are just getting started in the cannabis industry. The firm is located in Lansing, Michigan, and has been in business since 2019. It is a full-service cannabis law firm that provides advice and representation for things such as:
- Medical licensing under the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act
- Adult-use licensing under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
- Industrial hemp licensing under the hemp statutes in Michigan
- Original and class A micro-licenses under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
- Designated Consumption Establishment and Temporary Event licenses
- Branding, co-packaging agreements, trademarks and clone shipping advice
Why Do Cannabis Companies Need a Lawyer on Retainer?
The cannabis industry is still evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with new and changing regulations in Michigan and federally. But even though the industry is still changing, it’s up to cannabis business owners to stay informed of legislative changes to avoid getting into legal trouble.
Here are some of the reasons why having a cannabis attorney on retainer is a good idea:
Real estate advice: When renting or purchasing a business property for a cannabis business, you will have to consider many things. For instance, it needs to be a certain distance from schools and daycares. You will also have to provide security for the business, along with other requirements that other businesses aren’t burdened with. A cannabis attorney can guide you through the process to make sure you are in compliance and ensure you get the right property.
Intellectual property protection: As the cannabis industry explodes, many new products are hitting the market. And if you have created a unique product, you will want a cannabis attorney on retainer to help you protect your innovation from copycats.
Licensing: To operate a legal cannabis business in Michigan, you must secure the proper license. An attorney experienced in the industry can guide you through the process and ensure that all aspects of your business are on sound legal ground.
Make the Most of a Lawyer on Retainer
When hiring a cannabis lawyer on retainer, you should do all you can to ensure that you get the most for your money. There are three types of retainer contracts: general — when you pay fees over a certain amount of time in case you need advice or services from a lawyer; a retainer — when you pay an attorney a lump sum for a project to be used as a draw against work; and a special retainer — when you pay a flat fee for a specific project.
When you pay a retainer to an attorney, the attorney is required to deposit it into a special trust account instead of the law firm’s business account. The attorney will transfer the funds from the trust account into the business account as work is done on the project. This process is typically done monthly.
Here are some things you can do to get the most out of a retainer agreement with an attorney:
Understand the agreement: Before signing a retainer with an attorney, make sure you understand the components of the agreement. It should contain a description of the compensation you will pay and how you will pay it, the work that the attorney will do, any additional costs such as copy or postage fees, how often you will be billed and what happens if there is a dispute.
Check your billing statement: Every month, you will receive a letter from your attorney that includes a billing statement. This statement is a breakdown of the work done the prior month and the charges against your retainer. It will show you the time billed for each action the attorney took on your behalf. To ensure that you are getting the most from your retainer, be sure to check this statement every month to ensure that you are getting billed properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you go into a dispensary in Michigan without a card?
You cannot go into a medical dispensary in Michigan without a card. You need a Michigan Medical Marijuana Program card to purchase medical marijuana in Michigan and then are only allowed to purchase 10 ounces of cannabis a month if you are a patient. On the other hand, you can enter a recreational marijuana dispensary without a card if you are older than 21 and have identification. In that case, you will be able to purchase 2.5 ounces of marijuana in concentrate form.
What are the taxes for cannabis in Michigan?
There are three types of taxes for cannabis in Michigan. The first is an excise tax that is paid by the purchaser, and in Michigan, that tax is 10%. Purchasers also pay a 6% sales tax on cannabis. Owners of cannabis businesses must pay federal income taxes on the cannabis sales they make.