Thomas MJ Lavigne, JD is a partner at the law firm, providing legal services to cannabis businesses pursuing commercial licenses under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. He has practiced law for almost 30-years. Lavigne is also Secretary of the Board of MILegalize. As a technologist, he will organize even the most complex application and get it submitted to the state in an efficient manner.
The synergies that have come together at Cannabis Counsel, a unique, niche law firm, make it the core of Michigan’s medical cannabis community, and among the country’s leading legal authorities in cannabis law.
When our team of experienced cannabis lawyers work on your license application, your business, or your case, your success is our goal. For example, Thomas MJ Lavigne won a jury trial in Circuit Court in Petosky for husband and wife caregivers under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. The standard jury instruction for the felony of manufacturing a controlled substance contains the exception of where the defendant is legally authorized.
Lavigne began his career in Hawaii, right out of law school, the 1st of 3 state’s bars to which he is now admitted to practice law: Michigan, Hawaii, and North Carolina. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the District of Hawaii, and the Eastern and Central Districts of North Carolina. Lavigne is admitted to practice law before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth, Fourth and Ninth Circuits, and Fourth Circuit, having had appeals in said courts and appellate victories in the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Lavigne served as General Counsel and VP of Business Development at IDEACore, LLC in Birmingham, Michigan from 2000 to 2010. The company obtained a powerful software patent, the granting of which involved diligently prosecuting the patent through several office actions. Lavigne negotiated government contracts and Fortune 500 customer contracts to avoid over-reaching. Lavigne himself mastered the systems engineering methodologies of Quality Function Deployment, Analytical Hierarchy Process, TRIZ and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis; all of which he now applies to the practice of law.
Lawyer-Lavigne practiced law with Riecker VanDam, Barker and Black in Midland when he first returned to his home state of Michigan in the late nineties, where he did a variety of tax law for non-profits; engaged in complex business litigation including verses Enron; practiced criminal defense, real estate litigation, divorce law; served years on the board of directors of a regional hospice and visiting nurses association.
Lavigne worked as a trial lawyer for four years in the sand-hills of North Carolina, where a person can golf 12 months per year. His general practice included criminal defense, personal injury, wills, trusts, real estate, and government liability in North Carolina. Lavigne represented a Chinese American doctor in successfully establishing doctors clinics in China to serve ex patriots.
The day he passed his first bar exam, Thomas Lavigne filed in federal court, in Hawaii, a high profile Civil RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), against a long list of defendants, including the Governor of Hawaii; the Mayor of Honolulu; City Councilmen; the State Senator and State Representative both chairmen of the Land Use Committees, respectively; and several foreign nationals who were bribing said government officials, which bribes were found by the Federal Elections Commission to violate the prohibition against foreign campaign contributions; and their bribery agents were sued too for the pattern of racketeering activity (later implicated in the White House presidential suites for sale to criminal elements from the far east).
This was a pro-bono case representing a dozen farmer families who had farmed Maunawili Valley, some for centuries. Private Japanese golf course development corporations run by Korean Yakuza gangsters shot farmers’ cattle, served false eviction notices, in order to intimidate the farmers off of their farms. When a political hack was appointed to preside over summary eviction proceedings in State Court, Lavigne successfully argued a Writ of Mandamus granted by the Supreme Court of Hawaii, one of only a few granted in the State’s legal history at the time.
One of Lavigne’s first oral arguments was in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii, opposite over a dozen of the top lawyer’s from the biggest Honolulu law firms, including three former state bar presidents. Lavigne's boss at the time, Anthony P. Locricchio, was a great mentor, and he called it ' baptism by fire'. Locricchio was a former priest who married a Nun and opened a Planned Parenthood clinic in San Francisco in the late-sixties.
Locricchio and Tom's brother Jimmy Lavigne sued the Catholic Church for misappropriation of funds diverted to suburb parishes and away from Jimmy’s parish, St. Ann’s on 12th Street, North of W. Grand Blvd, an predominately African American Church. For their efforts Locricchio got excommunicated and Jimmy ended up dead in a 'canoeing accident' at a “Church” outing. Their drive and determination to stand up for what was right despite overwhelming odds inspired Lavigne to work for social justice.
Lavigne also represented neighborhoods of home owners exercising their rights under Hawaii’s Land Reform Act. This Act allows neighborhoods to petition the State to institute Eminent Domain, or Condemnation actions against the British Missionaries which five entities had owned all of the land in Hawaii until this law rescued homeowners who had all rented the land under their homes. Lavigne successfully argued to uphold the constitutionality of this law at the Supreme Court of Hawaii.
Lavigne also succeeded in an Employment Discrimination case against the University of Hawaii and served as a guardian Ad Litem appointed by the court to represent children in child abuse cases, as well as child abuse defense, reunifying families torn apart by a broken system.
In Hawaii, Lavigne lobbied for and represented Jonathan Tennyson, an electric car genius with a master plan for zero emissions mass and micro transportation system for the Hawaiian islands.