Michelle R.E. Donovan
Michelle R. E. Donovan advises cannabis companies in Michigan and Texas regarding medical and adult-use marijuana licensing, regulatory, compliance, business entity formation, and litigation. As one of the fastest-growing industries, Michelle’s national experience and connections allow her to strategize and advise cannabis companies on how to navigate the constantly changing legal landscape that surrounds this emerging market.
Along with national experience, Michelle has an extensive background with Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing and Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act and has successfully assisted clients with the process of applying for pre-qualification and license qualification status. Michelle obtained the first licensed provisioning center in Oakland County, Michigan. She filed the litigation successfully challenging the State of Michigan’s cannabis supply regulations and case of first impression on behalf of a medical marijuana patient for access. She is frequently in the media for her knowledge and was recently featured on Michigan’s Cannabis Industry Association cover for “Women Power and Industry” and feature article.
Additional Areas of Focus
Michelle represents clients both locally and nationally in all areas of real estate, including mortgage and deed fraud, construction liens, eminent domain, property tax appeals, title insurance, and municipal issues.
Michelle has extensive experience in all facets of probate law, including trust, probate and estate administration, guardianship and conservatorships. Michelle is a Macomb County Public Administrator, an appointed position with powers and duties primarily related to intestate decedent estates where there are apparently no known heirs. In this position, she also serves as guardian and/or conservator for minors and mentally disabled persons, as well as personal representative of deceased estates where there is no family or when an impartial fiduciary is needed. She was appointed by the Michigan Attorney General in 2017.
Litigation and Trial Experience
Michelle has extensive experience as a trial attorney, where she achieved many successful results in cannabis, real estate, and corporate matters. Highlights of her experience include:
- The Curing Corner, LLC v Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (Lansing, MI 2019), obtained after four (4) days of filing its complaint, an Emergency Rule was issued to allow patients to temporarily purchase medical marijuana from licensed caregivers for purchase from licensed provisioning centers.
- Hoover v Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (Detroit, MI 2019), case of first impression for constitutionality of State of Michigan’s licensing for medical marijuana access to patients.
- COEUS, LLC v Grennhouse of Walled Lake, et al (Oakland County, MI 2019), obtained dismissal of all claims against Greenhouse of Walled Lake for marijuana-related complaints.
- Performance Real Estate Holdings, LLC v Peak Athletic Club, LLC, et. al. (Rochester, MI 2017) Awarded jury verdict in landlord-tenant and sanctions for fees and costs in excess of $50,000.
- Blue Chip Talent dba Computer Consultants of America v Debbie Broich, et al (Oakland County, MI 2017) Successfully recovered funds in embezzlement by a prior employee.
- Carey Becker, et al v Ritz Craft, et al (Tuscola County 2017) awarded a no cause in a construction defect case.
- Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company v Metro Equity Services (Oakland County, MI 2016) Judgement obtained in the amount in excess of $1,00,000 including case evaluation sanctions against Defendant, as successor liability theory as a mere continuation of the prior entity.
Michelle is a frequent speaker and author on legal topics related to the cannabis industry and is frequently interviewed by the local and national media concerning this topic. Michelle also serves as an Adjunct Professor Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, a role which she has held since 2009.
Michelle also advocates for and educates others on the condition of vocal chord paralysis, a condition which she manages personally. Through her group on social media, Vocal Chord Paralysis Support Group, she brings others together in the community to discuss challenges with voice projection and breathing techniques.
Scoring Judge, Michigan Center for Civic Education -High School Mock Trial Tournament, March 4, 2023
Notable Women in Law, Crain’s Detroit Business, 2021
Appointment by the Attorney General, Public Administrator for Macomb County, 2017
Adjunct Professor Western Michigan University Cooley Law School 2009 – Present
Macomb County Bar Association
Macomb County Probate Bar Association
Cannabis Law Section of the Michigan State Bar, Treasurer
Michigan Cannabis Industry Association
National Cannabis Industry Association
International Cannabis Bar Association
Italian American Bar Association
Wayne County Probate Bar Association
Michigan Land Title Association
American Land Title Association
State Bar of Michigan, Faculty Member, Real Property Law Section
WMU-Cooley Law School “MentorJet” Program, Mentor
Secretary -Cannabis Law Section State Bar of Michigan 2022-2023
Treasurer- Cannabis Law Section State Bar of Michigan 2021-2022
State Bar Licenses
- Quoted, “Texas Said Delta-8 is Illegal but State Troopers Haven’t Made a Single Arrest,” Texas Tribune, November 2021
- Quoted, “After Two Years, American Hemp Experts Applaud USDA Rules While Waiting On Further Clarity,” High Times, February 2021
- Quoted, “Promise and Reality of Recreational Marijuana,” Downtown NewsMagazine, Michigan, January 2022
- Featured, “Delta-8 is legal in Texas — for now — after Travis County judge blocks state from criminalizing the cannabis extract,” Kut Austin NPR, November 2021
- Quoted, “Texas Blocked from Enforcing Delta-8 Ban,” Politico, November 2021
- Featured, “Delta-8 is legal in Texas — for now — after Travis County judge blocks state from criminalizing the cannabis extract,” Houston Chronicle, November 2021
- Featured, “What’s Next for Delta-8 in Texas,” Law.com, October 2021
- Featured, “Cities across Michigan to consider variety of cannabis ballot proposals,” Crain’s Detroit Business, October 2021
- Featured, “Texas’ Delta 8 ban faces new legal challenge from Houston vape shop,” Houston Chron, October 2021
- Featured, “Michigan’s largest cannabis retail towns reflect history, culture — and strategy,” Crain’s Detroit Business, October 2021
- Quoted, “Texas’ Delta 8 ban faces new legal challenge from Houston vape shop,” Houston Chronicle, October 2021
- Quoted, “U.S. Department of Agriculture Mails out First Ever Hemp Survey,” High Times Magazine, October 2021
- Interview, “Why Did Lawmakers Couple Cannabis Banking Reform with Defense Spending?” Market Scale, October 2021
- Featured, “Michigan’s Largest Cannabis Retail Towns Reflect History, Culture – and Strategy,” Crain’s Detroit Business, October 2021
- Co-author, “The Evolving CBD and Hemp Market,” Michigan Bar Journal, June 2021
- Quoted, “After Two Years, American Hemp Experts Applaud USDA Rules While Waiting on Further Clarity,” High Times, 2021
- Quoted, “CDC Says Majority of Vaping-Related Illnesses Linked to THC,” Politico, September 2019
- Speaker, Texas State Bar , “CBD Cannabis, Delta8 ET AL: It’s Not What you Know that Can Hurt You”, Texas State Bar, March 2022
- Moderator, Benzinga Cannabis Conference, “M & A Fever Spreading to Europe”, September, 2022
- Moderator, Detla 8 Expo in Partnership with The CBD Expo: Dallas, Texas, “The Great Delta 8 Debate”, March 2022.
- Moderator, State Bar Cannabis Law Conference, Michigan, September 2021
- Presenter – NBI – Michigan Marijuana Business Law 2021- Section II- Business and Tax Planning, May 19, 2021.
- Real Property Law Section State Bar of Michigan -Real Property Law Academy I “Title Insurance and Surveys”, May 18, 2021
- NBI Michigan Marijuana Business Law 2021- The Legalization Landscape/Regulatory Compliance & Licensing, May 18, 2021
- Presenter, ICLE Marijuana Open Forum, April 27, 2021