Michigan Cities Cannot Ban Medical Marijuana

February 06, 2014

In 2008 the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) was approved by an overwhelming majority of Michigan voters, including significant majorities in Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia and Wyoming.

Although the law bars officials from arresting, prosecuting or in any way penalizing registered patients and caregivers who comply with the MMMA, all four cities enacted ordinances that completely ban medical marijuana.

The ACLU of Michigan sued each of these cities, arguing that their ordinances violate state law, but the cities argued that they don’t have to follow state law because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

In a unanimous 7-0 decision and a victory for medical marijuana patients throughout the state, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in February 2014 that Michigan cities cannot ban medical marijuana through a local ordinance, nor can they use federal law as an excuse to disregard the MMMA.

(Ter Beek v. City of Wyoming, Lott v. City of Livonia, Lott v. City of Birmingham; ACLU Attorneys Dan Korobkin, Miriam Aukerman and Michael J. Steinberg, and Legal Fellow Zainab Akbar; Cooperating Attorneys Michael Nelson, Andrew Nickelhoff and Jerold Lax.)