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Ruling could affect Michigan's medical marijuana law

By Annie Chang
Published On: Oct 11 2013 05:29:57 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 11 2013 06:43:47 PM CDT

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LANSING — The City of Wyoming, Mich. is taking on the state's medical marijuana law.

The state supreme court will decide whether the city's zoning ordinance restricting pot growth and distribution is legal, affecting the state's law in the process.

City officials say it's a matter of safety. They're starting to see more marijuana-related crime in their town, and they want it to stop.

"(There's) crime involved with people growing medical marijuana in their basements," City Attorney Jack Sluiter told WLNS, our CBS partners in Lansing. "We've had break-ins, we have home home invasions and theft involving medical marijuana and fires because people are using grow lights."

The City of Wyoming passed the ordinance last year, but insist they aren't trying to overturn the state's Medical Marijuana Act, which voters approved in 2008.

"We are not attempting to ban medical marijuana use," Sluiter said.

But Dan Korobkin, attorney for the ACLU, begs to differ. Korobkin said he understands the city's concern for public safety, but doesn't want to forget patients who depend on marijuana to heal.

"State and local authorities can take measures to safeguard the public, but what they don't have a right to do is pass a sweeping plan that effectively bans medical marijuana patients and caregivers from doing what they have a right to do under state law," Korobkin said.

The City of Wyoming will have to successfully prove that the use of medical marijuana is a public risk to the people who live there.

Marijuana advocates like Tim Beck warned if the court does side with Wyoming, then cities all over Michigan will start passing similar ordinances.

"One municipality would do what they want to do, another would do something else and it would be very chaotic destabilizing to the rule of law,” Beck said.

The Court will have until July to issue a ruling.