November 9, 2010

Man Sues Michigan City Over Ban on Medical Marijuana

November 9, 2010
Medical Marijuana

John Ter Beek, a retired attorney licensed as a marijuana patient has filed suit in Kent County Circuit Court over Wyoming’s intent to ban medicinal use of the drug. Just to be clear, this is Wyoming, Michigan, not the state of Wyoming.

John Ter Beek claims this month’s City Council decision to ban marijuana for medicinal purposes tramples the rights of Michigan voters who at the polls in 2008 approved medical marijuana.

“I think we’ll win,” said Ter Beek, 58. “We’ve got the (state) Constitution on our side and there’s nothing they can do about it.”

City Attorney Jack Sluiter advised against a ban, citing a likely lawsuit. But elected officials Nov. 1 voted unanimously to prohibit medical marijuana because it violates federal law. Several other Michigan cities also have enacted bans on medical marijuana. It’s not clear whether any of them have been sued because of it.

Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll, a pharmacist, said the law passed by Michigan voters poses public-safety concerns for the city. The suit will force the law to be re-evaluated, he said.

“If it’s going to be held up, there are certain conditions that are going to have to be changed and enforced for this to be a feasible law for the state,” Poll said. “There’s just way too many unanswered questions and, at some point, they’re going to be answered in court.

“If nothing else, time will be on our side. If it defers (medical marijuana) from the city of Wyoming for any amount of time, then I feel it’s an accomplishment. I’m out to protect our citizens as long as I can.”

If necessary, Wyoming may seek financial help for the suit from the Michigan Municipal League, Poll said.


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