In a case that pitted Michigan's voter-directed initiative against a local community and federal law, medical marijuana patients came out the victors.
The City of Wyoming, Michigan created an ordinance that banned all use of marijuana within city limits by citing federal law. That stood in conflict with the state's Medical Marihuana Act (MMA), which allows certain registered and doctor-approved individuals to use medical marijuana to alleviate illness and ailments.
John Ter Beek, an attorney living in the city, sued Wyoming to overturn the ordinance. The case advanced to the Michigan Supreme Court, and in an unanimous decision delivered on February 6th, Ter Beek has prevailed.
The case carries significance for communities all across the state; some sought to imitate Wyoming's use of ordinance law to circumvent the rights of citizen residents who are also participants in the MMA. Wyoming's ordinance mimicked those of Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Township; that trio of cities was challenged by the Michigan ACLU. Lower court judges had favored the cities in those cases, but none had risen to the level of the Supreme Court.
On April 3, 2013, the Court agreed to hear the case and it was argued in late 2013. Several news agencies have filed initial reports. "Justice Bridget McCormack said Michigan's Medical Marihuana Act itself is not barred by the federal law," per Gongwer News Agency.
The case of Ter Beek vs Wyoming incorporated a larger argument than just a single city's ordinance: in agreeing to hear the case, the Supreme Court announced they would evaluate the greater issue of whether federal law could nullify the entire state-run, 5 year old program.
"(1) whether the defendant city's zoning code ordinance, which prohibits any use that is contrary to federal law, state law, or local ordinance, is subject to state preemption by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), MCL 333.26421 et seq.; and (2) if so, whether the MMMA is subject to federal preemption by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 USC 801 et seq., on either impossibility or obstacle conflict preemption grounds. See 21 USC 903."
A Fox News station broadcasting from West Michigan had this to say:
In August 2012, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned an initial ruling that sided with the city of Wyoming, saying that the city ordinance was void under the MMMA... According to a release from the Supreme Court, enacting the MMMA allows "a limited class of individuals to engage in certain uses in an effort to provide for the health and welfare of Michigan citizens."