Medical Marijuana, Local Control And The Michigan Supreme Court
Over the course of the legalization of Medical and Recreational marijuana debate here in the state of Michigan many have debated about whether control over dispensaries should be at the local or state level.
Well the Michigan Supreme Court has decided to take that question on as it relates to the Medical Marijuana market.
Mlive is reporting about a case that comes from a 2016 event in Byron Township, which is located south of Grand Rapids. A medical marijuana caregiver as well as patient did what she thought she had to do and that was register with the state as a medical marijuana commercial grower back in 2016. The Township then ordered her to stop all operations that same year. What came next was expected, the medical marijuana grower sued the Township.
Fast forward to July of 2018 when the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a lower trial court’s decision that stated there is no provision in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act that would allow a municipality to restrict where caregivers can grow medical marijuana.
The Court of Appeals concluded:
We conclude that the MMMA permits medical use of marijuana, particularly the cultivation of marijuana by registered caregivers, at locations regardless of land use zoning designations as long as the activity occurs within the statutorily specified enclosed, locked facility
After that Court of Appeals ruling Byron Township, the Michigan Townships Association and the Michigan Municipal League appealed the ruling to our state Supreme Court. That is where we are today.
Lawyers for the Michigan Municipal League wrote in their amicus brief:
The voters who approved the MMMA did not clearly intend to immunize medical marijuana patients and caregivers from all local land use laws, and the Court of Appeals’ finding of such immunity ignores both that lack of intent and the very concept of local home rule
That response does bring up a legitimate question that Michigan’s Supreme Court should hear and rule on.
I would note that I believe that Governor Whitmer would be on the side of the local municipalities since she just stated that when it comes to environmental issues and policies:
we think that this makes a lot more sense to have people who are truly accountable to the public making the decisions
Ok Governor, if you believe that people “who are truly accountable to the public making decisions” should make those decisions then the people at the local level should decide whether they want medical or for that case recreational marijuana growers in their locality. They are the first in line when it comes to being accountable to the people.
Sounds intellectually honest to me.