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Events | September 30, 2021
4 minute read

Cannabis Law Seminar – Industry Insights and Trends From the Legal Perspective

Hosted By: Warner

Location: Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48933

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.