Cannabis Law Services

Michigan’s emerging marijuana industry provides businesses, investors and entrepreneurs a new environment brimming with business opportunities.

However, the ever-shifting statutory and regulatory framework surrounding the production, transportation, distribution and retail sale of cannabis and hemp products, coupled with key federal law barriers that remain in place even though Michigan and other states have authorized the medical and recreational use of those items make that environment very hard to navigate.

Rhoades McKee offers businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs comprehensive solutions tailored by our collaborative team of professionals to meet our clients’ specific needs relating to their cannabis and hemp business needs.  With extensive experience not only in the agriculture industry but also with specific knowledge as it relates to the emerging Michigan cannabis industry, our attorneys provide counsel from entity selection and licensing to employment and land use.

We provide service and expertise in the following areas:

Entity Selection and Formation

Proper entity selection at the initial stages of forming a cannabis business is critical to each business’ financial future. Each type of entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, C corporation, and S corporation) offers specific financial, tax and liability benefits and burdens. Rhoades McKee clients have a unique advantage because of our team approach and experience. For example, three of our business and corporate attorneys are also certified, public accountants. They approach each business transaction fully understanding the financial and accounting implications. In addition, our team includes a tax paralegal, who retired with over 30 years of service as an IRS Agent. With these types of additional certifications, the Rhoades McKee business group readily distinguishes itself from other business attorneys.

Food and Agriculture Regulatory Compliance

Understanding of and compliance with the new state and federal laws governing both marijuana and hemp production and distribution is another issue for those in the cannabis industry.  The most recent Farm Bill (passed in December 2018) made some sweeping changes to the rules on hemp cultivation and production. The legislation legalizes the cultivation of hemp under certain restrictions and the production of hemp-derived CBD containing less than 0.3% THC nationally. Ultimately, the Farm Bill legalizes hemp and allows for its transport across state lines. However, each state (including Michigan) is required to develop and implement its own rules and licensing regulations regarding the sale and production of hemp and CBD. Our cannabis, food and agriculture attorneys navigate producers and retailers through this evolving area of the cannabis industry and guide cannabis organizations through the maze of compliance and regulatory issues arising under the new rules and regulations.


Obtaining state licenses and local operating permits can be overwhelming.  The governmental forms are intimidating, and the supporting document and data requirements are massive. Organizing and compiling the information necessary to create an application and realizing what may be missing, is key to a timely review of an application. Additionally, each community’s permit application process is different. The Rhoades McKee team has extensive experience in the process, and our familiarity with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is invaluable in addressing governmental concerns about an applicant.

Real Estate and Zoning Services

Recognized by U.S. News Best Lawyers as a Tier 1 Best Law Firm, the real estate law and litigation group represent individuals and businesses in a wide spectrum of real estate and development matters. Our team has the experience necessary to manage all the challenges facing a medical or recreational marijuana business including site selection, purchase and lease agreements, land use issues, zoning, and title insurance issues. Cannabis business organizations benefit from our extensive experience appearing before city and township planning commissions and governing boards and councils throughout the state, including those which have now adopted medical marijuana facility ordinances. We provide additional benefits in the drafting and negotiating of purchase and lease agreements by assuring these agreements cover the unique contingencies resulting from the complex marijuana licensing and zoning process.


Our labor and employment attorneys work with business owners – including those within the cannabis industry – to understand and comply with state and federal employment laws impacting the production and use of marijuana and hemp products.  In addition, our employment team assists growers to find agriculture workers utilizing the H-2 A Immigrant Visa Program, a time-sensitive and intensive documentation process.

Financial Institution Services

Because marijuana is still an illegal, Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, the federal government has strict rules and regulations that can severely limit cannabis-related businesses’ ability to pay their employees and creditors and conduct business at all. While there is a reason to believe that those federal regulations may change in light of the number of states that have legalized some form of marijuana usage until that happens cannabis business participants need to navigate these financial issues.

Rhoades McKee has forged partnerships with banking institutions, commercial lenders, credit unions, institutional investors and other financial institutions for over 50 years. Because of those relationships, we are uniquely situated to help our cannabis industry clients find ways to handle their finances in a manner consistent with State and federal laws. Our cannabis industry lawyers also work closely with local accountants and financial advisors to develop sound business plans allowing our clients to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.


 Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance under Federal law, regardless of the fact that its use has been approved for medical and recreational purposes in Michigan. Therefore, possessing, using, distributing and selling marijuana are all federal crimes, and this post is not intended to give you any legal advice or to lead you to believe that marijuana is legal under federal law. Please also note that even though marijuana is illegal under federal law, persons or companies generating income from its use or sale will need to pay federal taxes just as though you are a legal entity.

Cannabis Law Services Team

How May We Help You?

Bruce Courtade Construction Law and Litigation Attorney

Bruce Courtade | Attorney

To learn more about our cannabis industry legal services or to speak with an attorney, please connect with us below or call Bruce at 616.233.5152.

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