Skip to content

Michelle R.E. Donovan

Senior Counsel

Michelle R. E. Donovan advises cannabis companies 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. Michelle 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 expertise and knowledge and recently featured on Michigan’s Cannabis Industry Association cover for “Women Power and Industry” and feature article.

Additional Areas of Focus

Real Estate

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.

Probate

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.

Distinctions

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.

Education

J.D., Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan, 1999
B.A., University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan, 1991

Recognitions

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

Memberships

Macomb County Bar Association

Macomb County Probate Bar Association

Cannabis Law Section of the Michigan State Bar, Council

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

State Bar Licenses

Michigan, Texas

Court Admissions

U.S. District Ct., E.D. of Michigan
U.S. Supreme Court
Articles
  • Quoted, “After Two Years, American Hemp Experts Applaud USDA Rules While Waiting on Further Clarity,” High Times, 2021
  • Co-author, “Understanding Cannabis Trademarks and Avoiding Infringement,” MiCIA Magazine, January 2021
  • “Human Resources in 2021: Moving forward with the right strategy” MiCIA Magazine, Volume 2 Issue 4
  • “Does CBD Impair Your Driving Abilities? Experts, Researchers Disagree,” Healthline, December 2, 2020
  • “Taking Action,” MICIA, Winter 2020
  • Women Power an Industry, Cover Page, MiCIA Magazine Winter 2020
  • “Cannabis Regs: Mich. To Ease Recreational Pot Licensing,” Law360, October 2020
  • “Patient Can’t Force Michigan to Tap New Pot Suppliers,” Law360, January 17, 2020
  • “Let caregivers supplement medical marijuana shortage,” Crain’s Detroit Business, May 12, 2019
  • “Regulators just cut off a large supply of medical marijuana for Michigan’s legal provisioning centers,” MetroTimes, May 6, 2019
  • “Walled Lake marijuana licenses lawsuits,” The Spinal Column, March 8, 2019
  • “Michigan Abolishes Dower,” The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, Michigan Surveyor Magazine-Spring/Summer 2017
  • “Highway User Act Part 2-Monumenting Road Right-of-Way,” The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, Michigan Surveyor Magazine-Winter Edition 2016
  • “People of the State of Michigan v Patrick Joseph Langley,” The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, Michigan Surveyor Magazine-Winter Edition 2016
  • “Highway User Act, The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors,” Michigan Surveyor Magazine-Spring/Summer Edition 2016
  • “Where Did the Road Go?” The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, Michigan Surveyor Magazine-Winter Edition 2015
  • “How Public Act 123 of 1915 Affects Surveyors,” The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, Michigan Surveyor Magazine-Fall Edition 2015
  • “Do I Need Permission to Enter Private Property?,” The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, Michigan Surveyor Magazine-Spring/Summer Edition 2015
  • “Joint Tenancy v JTWROS: the Label Matters,” The State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section, March 2015 e-Newsletter
Presentations
  • 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
  • “The Blunt Truth: Your Local Pot Shop and Hashing out the Legal Details,” OCBA Webinar, September 2, 2020
  • “Michigan Marijuana Law and Business Operations,” Half Moon Education, Inc., August 25, 2020
  • “Advise Marijuana Start-Up,” ICLE Webcast, April 6, 2020
  • “Marijuana and Real Estate,” Oakland County Bar Association Real Estate Committee Meeting, September 24, 2019
  • Speaker, “State Bar of Michigan Professionalism in Action Orientation, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills Campus, August 28, 2019
  • “Real Estate and Land Use,” Business of Marijuana in Michigan Conference, Grand Rapids Michigan, June 20, 2019
  • Speaker, Senate confirmation hearing for Andrew Brisbo, the Director of Marijuana, May 2019
  • Panelist, “New Business of Cannabis, Hemp, CBD in Michigan,” April 29, 2019
  • “Cannabis – From Cradle to Grave,” Risk Management Association West Michigan Chapter seminar, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 15, 2018
  • State Bar of Michigan Professionalism in Action Orientation, Speaker, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School – Auburn Hills campus, Jan. 15, 2018
  • State Bar of Michigan Professionalism in Action Orientation, Speaker, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School – Auburn Hills campus, Aug. 30, 2017
  • Legalities for Surveyors, Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors Annual Convention 2016
  • “Quiet Title Actions: Best Practices,” ICLE Seminar, Webinar April 17, 2014
  • “Snapshot of a Civil Trial” and “The Court System” Lecturer, Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors Annual Meeting, 2013
  • “Realtors Law,” Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, Annual Meeting, 2012
  • Legal Descriptions Involving Land Assessed on a Larger Parcel, Seminar Various Title Insurance Companies 2010
  • “Curing Title Through Foreclosure,” Moderator, LORMAN Educational Services, 2008
Media
  • “ICE Raids in America,” Fox 2 News Detroit, July 2019
  • Appearance, “Let it Rip,” Fox2 Detroit, Medical Supply Chain Marijuana, April 28, 2019
  • “Debate over medical marijuana heats up,” WILX, April 25, 2019
  • “Protestors meet at Capital over marijuana issues,” WLNS, April 24, 2019
  • “Let It Rip,” Fox2 Detroit, April 18, 2019
  • “Dozens rally outside medical marijuana dispensary in Walled Lake,” WXYZ Detroit, April 17, 2019
  • “Pot growers, retailers clash as industry takes shape,” Detroit News, April 16, 2019
  • Interview, “the rise of marijuana sales on the black market,” Metro Times, February 26, 2019
  • “Spotlight on the News,” Michigan’s growing cannabis business, WXYZ, February 10, 2019
  • Interview, The Craig Fahle Show, on the emerging cannabis industry, January 24, 2019
  • Interview, The Nolan Finley Show on new legal resolution to help preserve patient access to medical marijuana, January 23, 2019
  • Interview, WDIV’s Flashpoint to discuss the impact of legalizing marijuana in Michigan, January 13, 2019
  • Interview, WDIV’s Flashpoint to discuss Michigan’s Proposal 1, WDIV, Flashpoint, November 6, 2018
  • Interview, The Craig Fahle Show on legalized medical marijuana, October 22, 2018
  • Interview, WJR’s Frank Beckmann Show, discussing the first Marihuana License in Oakland County, October 19, 2018