Local Ordinance Banning Medical Marijuana Argued at Michigan Supreme Court
Earlier this year, I was arguing a medical marijuana case before the Michigan Court of Appeals. My case was probably about the 100th time a panel of our intermediate court of appeals had to address some facet of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act over the past 5-years.
I could tell from the panel, which included Judge Christopher Murray, that the novelty of the MMA was wearing thin on the judges. "Oh boy, here we go again; not another medical marijuana case."
Now, these cases are percolating up to the Michigan Supreme Court, which will be hearing arguments tomorrow on yet another medical marijuana case; this one with an interesting twist. The case, Ter Beek v City of Wyoming, involves the legal challenge brought by a card-carrying pot smoker against his hometown for an ordinance that was passed in response to the MMA.
The challenged Wyoming ordinance subjects people to a violation for possessing marijuana on the basis of the federal prohibition of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, as set forth in the federal Controlled Substance Act. John Ter Beek, a qualified medical marijuana patient, challenged this ordinance in his law suit which seeks a declaratory judgment that the ordinance is invalid because it directly conflicts with state law: i.e. the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
The Court of Appeals struck down the Wyoming ordinance on the grounds the ordinance is preempted -swallowed whole- by the medical marijuana act. In addressing the potential federal preemption of the Controlled Substance Act, the appellate court noted that Congress has traditionally left matters of public health and drug regulation to the police powers of the states.
Tomorrow's oral arguments before the Michigan Supreme Court should prove to be very interesting. We here at the Law Blogger, having predicted back in 2009 that the MMA would be a great ride, will monitor this case and will post the MSC opinion as soon as it is made available sometime next spring.