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Appeals Court Blocks Ordinances That Ban Medical Marijuana Growing

Livonia-style "federal, state, and local" bans have been ruled unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court.
August 2, 2012 at 1:00 am
Appeals court blocks ordinances that ban medical marijuana growing
  • By Chad Livengood
  • Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing— Medical marijuana ordinances in three Metro Detroit municipalities could get scrapped after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled cities cannot enact local laws that criminalize patients' legal use of the drug.
In a ruling issued Wednesday, a three-judge panel overturned an ordinance enacted by the city of Wyoming — a Grand Rapids suburb — that sought to prohibit cultivation of medical marijuana based on federal prohibitions against manufacturing and distributing cannabis.
"Defendant's ordinance is void and unenforceable to the extent that it purports to sanction the medical use of marijuana in conformity with" the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, appeals judges Joel P. Hoekstra, Douglas B. Shapiro and William C. Whitbeck wrote in an opinion handed down Tuesday and released Wednesday.
The ruling could have broad implications for communities seeking to regulate medical marijuana growing and distribution through zoning ordinances in the legal battles over the 2008 voter-enacted law.
The ACLU of Michigan has challenged similar ordinances in Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Livonia.
"This really will put an end to those ordinances, as well," said Dan Korobkin, staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan.
Wyoming's ordinance was based upon Livonia's law, Livonia City Attorney Don Knapp said.
"Obviously, this is not good for us," Knapp said.
John Ter Beek, a 60-year-old diabetic from Wyoming, has been a registered medical marijuana patient since May 2009 and grows his own cannabis at home, as permitted under the law. He sued to challenge a Wyoming ordinance implemented in November 2010 that made marijuana cultivation a zoning violation.
The appellate court ruled the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act gives qualified patients immunity from municipal zoning sanctions. The judges also concluded the state medical marijuana law's limited immunity for patients does not interfere with federal enforcement of controlled substances laws.
"It will keep other communities from banning medical marijuana," Ter Beek told The Detroit News.
It's unclear whether Wyoming will appeal the ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled in May that patients are protected from prosecution even if they have not obtained a state medical marijuana card. Wyoming officials could not be reached for comment.
Last summer, a separate appeals panel ruled the sale of marijuana at dispensaries was not allowed under the law. That case, involving a Mount Pleasant medical marijuana dispensary, is expected to be argued before the Supreme Court later this year.
"If there's any sort of good news in all of this, I don't think you're going to see medical marijuana dispensaries pop up (in Livonia)," Knapp said.


knapp the crap
what a sap
good ruling, for me its more about a patient or caregiver being able to grow meds within the city in which they live and the whole cities thinking they can create ordinances that trump state laws is total BS , i live in royal oak who had previously passed an ordinance against growing in the city, that will be null and void, i look forward to when they settle the dispensary issues, i personally dont have neeed for dispensaries for i have found a very compassionate caregiver, and for me past dispensary xperiences were , over priced, and even medibles would be overpriced and usually have more of a taste than any relief effects, so i just make my own now. just another step in the right direction, but i do see the need for dispensaries for patients that like to use them , it is a great way to find multiple strains, and usually easier to obtain, BHO . so good luck to all
the idiots on the city counsels in the upper michigan cities should take a look at this. i know manistique and escanaba are hating the growing and trying to ban it or get a list of growers. huge privacy invasion and also conflicts with the hippa act. when will these people realize that growing is a great thing. meds are so much cheaper now. i've never seen medicine go from $60 to $25 an 1/8th ounce so fast. and the growers that get this money spend it in america. no more money going over to mexico for commercial or greedy illegal growers getting top dollar. it's so nice being able to grow and not be a criminal in the states eyes. from my experience feds usually dont mind if your strictly staying in state law.
Jan 08 2013 03:49 PM
It's encouraging to see positive outcomes for my Michigan brothers and sisters who have intelligently chosen canibis for the ailments in which it is so effective. my new hopes are that we somehow hold the FDA accountable for assisting in the poisoning of our young adults....the recent ads for compensation against the birth control Yaz .Yazmine..and another close relative are big in the news as pointed out by the FDA that these are causing cancers ..embalisms and many other dire effects... all approved by the FDA who is untouchable from litigation... This Must Change.