On Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court said it will consider the legality of city ordinances to ban marijuana cultivation centers based on weed’s illegal federal status.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the city of Wyoming’s appeal of a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling last summer that found that cities cannot enact local laws that criminalize registered patients’ legal use of marijuana.
Retired attorney John Ter Beek, a legal Michigan medical marijuana patient, sued the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming to challenge a November 2010 city ordinance that made marijuana cultivation a zoning violation.
A Kent County judge ruled in Wyoming’s favor, but an appellate court reversed the decision.
In Wednesday’s order, the justices asked attorneys from both sides to prepare legal arguments on whether a local ordinance could preempt Michigan’s medical marijuana act. Justices also want attorneys to prove whether Michigan’s medical marijuana law is subject to the federal Controlled Substances Act banning marijuana cultivation and distribution.
This case could potentially have big implications for other communities in Michigan. It could either help marijuana cultivation centers gain footing in resistant towns, or it could allow the towns to ban medical marijuana cultivation all together.
Medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2008, but the state has struggled to establish a clear system without loopholes. Several pieces of legislation are currently being worked on to help clarify medical marijuana regulations. Some, including ones which extended the validity of a medical marijuana card and made stricter rules for doctor-patient relationships, went into effect on Monday.