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High court: Cities can't bypass Michigan's pot law

February 6, 2014

Communities can't pass ordinances to preempt Michigan's 5-year-old medical marijuana law, according to a Michigan Supreme Court ruling Thursday - a far-reaching move that "ends a long, tortuous battle in the courts," one legal expert said. The court held that federal law criminalizing marijuana doesn't invalidate the state's medical marijuana law because the state law "doesn't interfere with or undermine federal enforcement of that prohibition. The state legally allows "a limited class of individuals to engage in certain uses in an effort to provide for the health and welfare of Michigan citizens," the ruling said. Since local governments essentially are arms of the state, each must ensure their orders are not more restrictive than what Michigan allows, said Robert Sedler, a constitutional law professor at Wayne State University. "They only have the power the state gives them."