WYOMING, MI — The City of Wyoming will appeal a Michigan Court of Appeals decision that voided the city’s ordinance regulating the use of marijuana.
Mayor Jack Poll announced the council’s intent to appeal by reading a prepared statement following the public comment portion at the end of a council meeting Tuesday night.
“We feel that the Michigan law, as written, is very unclear,” Poll said, reading the statement. “Unlike regulations for drunk driving, this law does not establish standards or tests for marijuana consumption.”
“The law has the potential to create unsafe conditions on our roads. Without definite guidelines, it is impossible for our already busy police department to enforce.”
Last year, the council initiated a ban on marijuana in Wyoming, saying that it can only be distributed safely by pharmacists – not by licensed marijuana caregivers, as allowed by Michigan law.
Attorney John Ter Beek, an attorney and medical marijuana patient, filed suit in Kent County Circuit Court against the city in November 2010, saying that the council’s decision trampled the rights of state voters who approved medical marijuana in 2008.
The suit also said the decision violated the second article of the state constitution, which guarantees citizens’ rights to pass initiatives that amend state law.
Kent County Circuit Judge Dennis B. Leiber ruled in 2011 that the federal law against marijuana use trumps the state’s medical marijuana act. Ter Beek appealed, and the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with him about a month ago.
Now Wyoming said it will file an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court by a deadline of Sept. 11. City Manager Curtis Holt estimated the cost of filing the appeal will be about $5,000.
“We certainly hope that the Supreme Court will hear the case,” said Poll. “That’s the first step.
“If they won’t hear the case, then it’s over.”
Contacted by phone after the board meeting, Ter Beek said he had not yet heard of Wyoming’s decision and was disappointed that the pending announcement hadn’t been made public before the meeting.
“I wish they would have put it on the agenda so I could have been there,” he said. “This is typical of the Wyoming City Council, doing things backhanded and sneakily so the public doesn’t really get a chance to say their piece.”
Ter Beek plans to watch for what comes next.
“I don’t think it’s going to be successful and I think that if they want to continue their political careers by being defined as a failure, then that’s fine, especially in light of the fact that they’re spitting on 63 percent of the voters,” Ter Beek said, referring to the number of voters statewide who supported the medical marijuana initiative; 59 percent of Wyoming voters also approved it.
“I’ll just wait and see what the Michigan Supreme Court does. I’ll be surprised if they even accept it for appeal.”