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Legal Haze Lifting For Medical Pot

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Fenton — Since the enactment of the Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) of 2008, municipalities have dealt with the murky rules involving the legality of medical marijuana,


grow operations and where local ordinances fit between federal and state laws.


 State law (the MMA) allows proper medical marijuana use for qualifying patients, and proper cultivation of marijuana for qualifying patients and growers.


 Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. For this reason, many local townships and cities have avoided the issue by passing

moratoriums on setting local rules related to grow operations — except the village of Holly, which passed regulations on dispensaries in 2011.


 Fenton extended its moratorium most recently in November, where attorney Stephen Schultz guessed this would be the last moratorium they enact. Each moratorium

was to wait for clarity from court cases. As he expected, that clarity arrived from case Ter Beek v City of Wyoming, last week.



 In this case, the city of Wyoming made illegal anything that would conflict with state or federal laws. John Ter Beek sued the city arguing that the ordinance was in

violation of the MMA, which as a qualifying patient, allows for the use of medical marijuana, and a grow operation.

 The Michigan Court of Appeals, the top court in Michigan, essentially decided that whether state law conflicts with federal law, local ordinances are still preempted by

state law, and a local municipality, be it Fenton City or Rose Township, could not outright ban qualifying grow operations, or medical marijuana use for that matter.

 Local governments can regulate grow operations and dispensaries. Because of this, Schultz said he contacted the city’s zoning administrator Brad Hissong, asking

him to take up the issue again.

 “I think it’s important that the city consider its scope of regulation it wants to adopt,” he said. “Now we better look at what permissible scope of that use would be, and

where we want that use to occur.”

 It’s likely that the MMA will begin appearing on meeting agendas for all local governments in the near future. ???

What does the MMA of 2008 do?

 An initiation of legislation to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana; to provide protections for the medical use of marihuana; to provide for a system of

registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers; to impose a fee for registry application and renewal; to provide for the promulgation of rules; to

provide for the administration of this act; to provide for enforcement of this act; to provide for affirmative defenses; and to provide for penalties for violations of this act. 



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