It’s been nearly 5 years since the last time the Michigan Supreme Court decided a case involving the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”). The last time the high court did so in July of 2015, it openly lamented the fact that it had issued opinions in 9 different cases involving the MMMA in less than 7 years since Michigan voters approved the MMMA at the ballot in November 2008.
Today’s latest opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court in DeRuiter v Township of Byron marks a dramatic shift that impacts medical marijuana patients and caregivers across the State of Michigan. The concerns an issue that has been kept open for years—can a municipality use zoning and land use planning ordinances to restrict where a patient or caregiver may cultivate their medical marijuana?
The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a series of different cases, had held on each occasion that the MMMA protects a patient or caregiver’s ability to cultivate medical marijuana and that state law preempts a municipality from restricting grows to commercial buildings or home occupations or any other zoning or land use planning restrictions. Today, the Michigan Supreme Court overruled the prior case law out of the Court of Appeals and held that there is no direct conflict between the MMMA and the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act (the state law that gives municipalities the power to issue zoning ordinances). As a result, the Michigan Supreme Court held that municipalities have the authority to limit where patients or caregivers may cultivate medical marijuana plants.
In light of today’s Michigan Supreme Court opinion, many medical marijuana patients and caregivers may now be subject to restrictions on where they can lawfully grow their plants. Many existing patient and caregivers may find themselves facing action from their local municipality seeking to shut down their use. If you are medical marijuana patient or caregiver facing action from your local municipality, contact attorney John Fraserand the rest of the Cannabis Law attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC. We have a proven track record of fighting for the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers.
An associate attorney with Grewal Law PLLC in Okemos, Michigan, John Fraser focuses on general litigation, criminal defense, cannabis law, and appellate law. John is also an adjunct professor of law at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School where he teaches a course on Medical Marijuana and the Law.