LANSING – Michigan cities and townships cannot bar the cultivation and use of medical marijuana, a state appellate court has decided in a case involving an ordinance adopted by the city of Wyoming and challenged by a patient there.
In an opinion released this morning, a unanimous three-judge panel of the court said the local ordinance was clearly pre-empted by the medical marijuana state law, and that local governments could not use the federal prohibition on marijuana as an excuse to ban it.
The appeals ruling is a significant victory for advocates of medical marijuana, who claim that cities and townships have been attempting to thwart the law, approved by state voters in 2008. Similar legal challenges have been brought against other communities, including Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, which enacted similar ordinances.
“The entire medical marijuana community is elated by this decision,” said Tim Beck, one of the leaders in the successful ballot proposal, “It confirms our belief that states have a right to regulate their own affairs.”
The appeals court said Michigan and federal law did not conflict because the voter-approved statute expressly acknowledged the federal marijuana prohibition while providing an exemption for its cultivation and use under state law.
“Congress can criminalize all uses of medical marijuana, (but) it cannot require the state to do the same,” the courts said.
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