The Michigan Supreme Court will hear a case that could have a profound impact on the application of the state’s 2008 medical marijuana law. The three-year-old case, Ter Beek V. City of Wyoming, will decide whether or not an individual city in a state with legal medical cannabis can ban pot based on it being illegal federally.
In 2010 the western Michigan city of Wyoming outlawed distribution of medicinal cannabis by anyone other than a licensed pharmacist, which prompted attorney and pot patient John Ter Beek to file a lawsuit that November. Ter Beek argued the Wyoming ordinance violated the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) that was passed by 63 percent of voters statewide, and by 59 percent of Wyoming voters, in 2008.
In 2011, Judge Dennis Leiber ruled that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) prohibiting pot superseded state law. However, in 2012 the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned Leiber's decision, deciding that the CSA didn't “preempt the MMMA’s grant of immunity as found in (the Medical Marijuana Act) because it is well established that Congress cannot require the states to enforce federal law.”
Now the case goes to the Michigan Supreme Court, which must determine if state law is trumped by the CSA and whether the Wyoming medical pot ban violates the state’s medical pot law. The Court must issue its decision by July 31, 2014.