With Michigan having become the 10th state of the union and the first in the Midwest to legalize recreational cannabis, big business and all the trappings therein are banging down the doors.
And they all need legal advice, counseling and help decoding the state’s soon to be released tax codes and almost guaranteed to be confusing regulations.
Enter the lawyers to help navigate Michigan’s bold new status of a legal state amid a federally illegal country.
The federal/state disconnect will obviously be a challenge even for the best of attorneys who, according to the Detroit Free Press, are fielding questions that range from where to set up a marijuana shop to how to get a recreational license without a medical one (hint: you can't).
“This is the biggest development we've ever seen,” said Barton Morris of Cannabis Legal Group. “Nothing is really going to happen until 2020, but people will still want legal advice.”
Morris’ firm, reports the Free Press, has been inundated with calls since the midterm elections although they’ve been marketing their services and counseling via Facebook Live for the past several months.
“We’ve done over 70 Facebook Lives because it is difficult to get all the information to people who want to get in,” said Morris.
The most important thing prospective marijuana entrepreneurs want to know, apparently, is which cities will allow recreational licenses.
Under Michigan's legalization proposal, each city has the right to allow or deny recreational licensing, so that question will only pan out over time.
Meanwhile, real estate becomes a crucial issue as potential shop and business owners will need to know what city regulations will say about operating near schools, or which cities might be offering economic incentives, like tax exemptions.
Since there is precious little in terms of case law or precedents to cite, attorneys need to keep up to date on litigation going on all over the country, which sometimes means interpreting things that haven't yet been decided in the courts.
“There is no precedent to what we are doing,” said Morris. “But our clients need answers, they need to make large money decisions.”
And while Northern Michigan University in Marquette became the first university in the country to offer a four-year degree in cannabis chemistry and business, there are no law schools offering pot law courses...at least not yet.