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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Medical Marijuana Gains and Losses in Lansing

Last week was an interesting one from a medical marijuana perspective here in Michigan.  First, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that townships and municipalities could not ban medical marijuana with local ordinances.  Across town at the capitol, however, the bill proposing medical marijuana dispensaries is stuck in committee.

The Michigan Supreme Court held that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was not preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act to the extent that a person could comply with the MMA and not violate the federal law.  The Court held, however, that the City of Wyoming's ordinance directly conflicted with the state law thus, it was invalid.

The ruling has immediate implications for Southeast Michigan where several local municipalities -Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Birmingham- have similar ordinances banning medical marijuana within their boarders; those ordinances are invalid.

In another development from early last week, a pair of bills pending in Lansing to allow communities to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries were assigned to the Government Operations Committee in the state senate under the chairmanship of Senator Randy Richardville [R Monroe] who is not a fan and who has vowed to put the brakes on the legislation.

This was a disappointing development for the medical pot lobby, encouraged last year by the bills swift passage in the state house.  On the other hand, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has actively opposed the legislation and does not want to see a return of multiple dispensaries; Lansing had nearly 40 pot dispensaries at one time.

So, for the immediate future, dispensaries are disallowed in Michigan in favor of continuing the "grown-your-own" model expressly contemplated by the MMA.  We will monitor further developments.

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