A Varnum client purchased a blueberry farm in southwest Michigan with the intention of growing cannabis and began preparing the property to do so. After completing initial preparations, the Michigan Department of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (EGLE) alleged the client had illegally filled regulated wetlands in violation of Part 303 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. As a result, EGLE sent the client a Notice of Violation (NOV). Due to EGLE’s NOV, the local township — which issues local marijuana business licenses — halted the client’s marijuana licensing and ultimately delayed the client’s ability to farm cannabis until the wetland issues with EGLE were resolved.
The client engaged Varnum to help resolve its wetland dispute with EGLE and secure marijuana licensing from the township. Time was of the essence, as the client needed to plant its crop by a specific date in order to achieve a harvest. Varnum negotiated with EGLE and achieved a workable plan, which restored the regulated wetlands while also allowing the client to farm its entire 15,000 cannabis plants under its marijuana license. In addition, Varnum was able to negotiate the client’s civil penalties, leaving the client in a position to fully resolve its dispute with EGLE while moving forward with its business plan.
If you’ve been served with a Notice of Violation from EGLE or if you have questions regarding Part 303 wetland violations and compliance, please contact Kyle Konwinski or Seth Arthur from Varnum’s environmental team.