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Lapeer county FOR ELECTRICAL COMPLIANCE PERMIT AND/OR MEDICAL MARIJUANA CAREGIVER


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City of Warren v. Clayton Jamers Bezy

Clayton Bezy was growing medical marijuana for both himself and his registered patients at his Warren home. He was 100% in compliance with the MMMA, but the city of Warren imposed additional requirements under its ordinance code. Warren issued citations to Bezy for:

  1. Failing to register for safety inspections
  2. Emitting noxious marijuana odors causing a nuisance
  3. Operating a business in violation of the law which is considered a misdemeanor

Bezy argued that the city’s ordinance requirements directly conflicted with state law and didn’t apply to his lawful caregiver activities. Additionally, he argued that these violations and citations are punishments that a municipality cannot grant. Warren then argued that its requirements didn’t conflict with the MMMA, but rather expanded on its requirements and added safety restrictions.

Subsequently, the Michigan Court of Appeals sided in favor of Bezy. The Court of Appeals concluded that, “the MMMA prohibits local governments from restricting MMMA-compliant behavior.” The city of Warren’s ordinances were found to, “add ‘a layer of restrictions and regulations’ that restricts [caregiver] cultivation of medical marijuana.” Since the city’s ordinances prohibited what state law allows, the Court found that the ordinances were invalid and didn’t apply to caregiver conduct.

DeRuiter v. Township of Byron

This interpretation of the MMMA strongly favors caregiver rights under state law. Based on what the MMMA states, it’s a reasonable conclusion. However, it’s also an unpublished opinion that didn’t come from the Michigan Supreme Court. Therefore, it’s still unclear whether will stand as solid law.

While the Michigan Court of Appeals has addressed this issue in a couple of cases (Charter Township of York v. Miller; City of Warren v. Bezy), the Michigan Supreme Court completed its decision on one similar case: Ter Beek v. City of Wyoming. This case set the framework in Michigan for preemption cases involving the MMMA and municipalities.

The Michigan Supreme Court recently agreed to review and decide one case—DeRuiter v. Township of Byron—which contains similar facts as City of Warren v. Bezy. Both cases involve a caregiver’s rights under state law and municipality land use and zoning authority.

Read more on the decision made by the Michigan Supreme Court on April 27th, 2020. 

Rights of caregivers under the MMMA

Currently, a majority of the focus in Michigan is on the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) and adult-use establishments under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA/Prop 1). However, the MMMA and its caregiver-patient system isn’t going anywhere. Caregivers that wish to grow for their patients in either a residential or industrial-zoned property still exist.

Caregivers hold the ability to co-exist with licensed facilities and adult-use establishments. It’s only a matter of where those caregivers can grow for their patients. Therefore, this issue is something to keep an eye on and witness how this issue is resolved once and for all.

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