Skip to main content
A Better Partnership


Sep 2021
September 30, 2021
Cannabis Law Seminar – Industry Insights and Trends From the Legal Perspective

Lansing Center | Hosted By: Warner

Image for Cannabis Law Seminar – Industry Insights and Trends From the Legal Perspective
Warner Norcross + Judd presented an in-person seminar titled “Cannabis Law Seminar – Industry Insights and Trends From the Legal Perspective,” at the Lansing Center on Thursday, September 30, 2021. Warner’s Cannabis Industry Group attorneys  presented a wide variety of topics top of mind for cannabis business owners. The lunch keynote presentation featured special guest speaker Andrew Brisbo, Marijuana Regulatory Agency executive director, along with Warner attorneys Bob Hendricks and Monique Field-Foster. See program details below.

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.   Registration
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.   History and Current Status of State Legalization
Robert Hendricks, Senior Counsel, Co-chair Cannabis Industry Group

Bob Hendricks presented the evolution of the marijuana industry – the U.S. Prohibition in the 1920s, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the federal Controlled Substances Act adopted in 1970 and the states taking control through voter initiatives to make medical and recreational use legal. Presently, 37 states have legalized at least medical marijuana and 17 have full legalization. Learn why it’s essential to know this history and its impact on your business today.
9:00 - 9:45 a.m.   Criminal Law Considerations:
Cannabis Isn’t Completely Legal
Madelaine Lane, Partner, Co-chair White Collar Criminal Defense and Investigations Practice Group

Madelaine presented the current legal landscape of Michigan state cannabis law and how the federal criminal laws are still a factor. She discussed how current federal law impedes cultivation, distribution, possession and use of cannabis – and the dos and don’ts for cannabis business owners.
9:45 - 10:45 a.m.   Employment Law Issues for Marijuana Businesses:
Top 10 Tips to Minimize Employment Risks
Ed Bardelli, Partner, 
Karen VanderWerff, Partner

There is simply no foolproof way to guarantee that your business will never be sued. Ed and Karen provided tips on the best course of action to take – mitigating your risk and placing your business in the most advantageous position possible to win any lawsuit brought against you. Your employees should be an asset, not a liability. They will discuss strategies and valuable tips to help minimize your risk of employee disputes

10:45 - 11:00 a.m.   Break
11:00 - 12:00 noon   Real Estate, Land Use and Municipal Control: Environmental Legal Issues
Robert Nolan, Partner
Thomas Amon, Partner
Paul Bratt, Associate

Benjamin Nimphie, Associate

Bob, Kurt, Tom, Paul and Ben explored the zoning process and challenges that may arise during this stage, including issues related to sales agreements, leasing, title and financing. When looking to set up shop or establish operations, cannabis businesses may encounter various unique obstacles – including working with municipalities. There are also environmental considerations to be mindful of, which will all be addressed in this session.
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.   Lunch
Keynote: Getting Inside the MRA – Understanding the Agency’s Vision for Marijuana in Michigan
Andrew Brisbo, Executive Director, Marijuana Regulatory Agency
Robert Hendricks, Senior Counsel, Co-chair Cannabis Industry Group
Monique Field-Foster, Senior Counsel, Co-chair Government Affairs Practice Group

Andrew, Bob and Monique presented on the role of regulatory oversight in Michigan. Based on their extensive interaction with the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and the firm’s Government Affairs Practice Group relationships with several different governmental bodies, they will share their experiences and predictions for the future.
1:00 - 1:15 p.m.   Labeling and Advertising
Robert Hendricks, Senior Counsel, Co-chair Cannabis Industry Group
Benjamin Nimphie, Associate

Bob and Ben provided a brief outline of the labeling requirements and advertising restrictions applicable to medical and adult-use marijuana. They shared their opinions on the reasons for those requirements and restrictions – and how to work with and through them.
1:15 - 2:15 p.m.   Banking and Insurance Issues
Rodney Martin, Of Counsel
Carly Zagaroli, Associate

Rodney spoke about how most banks and credit unions are reluctant to accept deposits from cannabis-related businesses, although a few do. They addressed how to establish and maintain a successful bank or credit union relationship. Additionally, Carly presented the current status of insuring cannabis businesses, including trends impacting the cannabis insurance industry. She further provided a general overview of relevant insurance compliance and coverage topics.
2:15 - 3:15 p.m.   Organizing and Capitalizing Your Business
Matthew Johnson, Partner, Co-chair Cannabis Industry Group
William Lentine, Partner

Matt and Bill addressed best practices in general organization structures and capitalization of cannabis businesses and the impact of IRC Section 280E on companies that sell cannabis. Section 280E can limit growth opportunities for cannabis businesses and affect typical startup structures that usually form LLCs taxed as partnerships. They shared techniques cannabis businesses can use to position themselves for growth or future exits.
3:15 - 3:30 p.m.   Break
3:30 - 4:15 p.m.   Intellectual Property, Including Trademarks and Patents
Mary Bonnema, Partner
Randall Peck, Partner

Mary and Randy provided an overview of the intellectual property landscape for cannabis owners – including current legal protections available. They also addressed patents, plant variety protection, trade secrets, trademarks, trade dress and copyrights.
4:15 - 4:45 p.m.   Conclusion, Projections and Questions:
Cannabis Isn’t Completely Legal
A Panel of Warner Presenters

This was an opportunity to ask the presenters questions about any of the topics presented today or a question pertaining to your own cannabis-related business. The panel looked forward to having an engaging discussion with attendees.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.



+ -