In November 2008, the Michigan voters resoundingly passed the “Medical Marijuana Act” (MMA), an initiated bill, with a 63% majority. This law, which went into effect in December 2008, had caregivers and prospective patients registering as early as in the spring of 2009. It allows the limited growing (and use by qualified patients) of marijuana for medical use by those who are registered. The federal laws against marijuana are still on the books, and the restrictions of this bill empathize with that fact in its seventh section:
In 2008, I voted with the minority, contrary to what some would call my libertarian leanings. My reasons were personal; I know/knew some people who abused the drug to extremes, know of three vehicle accidents involving people I know where pot/mind-altering drugs was a contributing factor, and see nothing positive with the casual use of the drug. I never used it myself, and have actively worked to help those who have kick the habit.
In September of 2010, PM and Hamlin Townships, as well as the city of Manistee each passed a moratorium (a legally authorized period of delay) on medical marijuana distribution. On Monday night, Jan. 24, the Ludington City Council will consider imposing a moratorium on the issuance of licenses, permits or approvals for the sale or dispensing of medical marijuana, until zoning issues can be worked out.
“Basically, it’s just to give our planning commission time to figure out the best way to regulate medical marijuana,” City Manager John Shay said about the moratorium he is recommending that the council approve.
Here’s the part of the thread I usually jump on Ludington’s policymakers, but allow me to hold off on that. I actually commend Ludington City Hall for waiting a bit to join the local moratorium bandwagon that happened four months ago, and for not creating any restrictive ordinances which would likely lose if challenged in court. Some cities have done just that, and are likely to pay for it in lawsuits that have the initiated state law prohibiting what they’ve enacted in their local statutes.
Correction: have their citizens pay for their attempt to regulate this law that was passed resoundingly by those same citizens.
It’s reasonable to think that state laws voted in by the initiation process should be considered ‘greater’ law than those passed by the state legislatures. The MM law is fairly responsible, and imposes no real duties on local governments, and similarly does not empower them with new abilities.
If a caregiver or patient is following the state law on dispensation of marijuana, can a locality that claims a moratorium on such actually intervene, citing existing federal law for such enforcement, without risking being sued?
It may be the libertarian strain in my logic, but I think all local moratoriums are not enforceable, perhaps illegal, and the best thing for any county, township, or city to do is nothing at this point. The MMA has been a law for over two years; society hasn’t crumbled down because of there being no local regulations to dilute the statute.
In the city ordinances there are no references to ‘moratoriums’ or ‘marijuana’, nor is there language in the totality of state law that gives local governments the power to invoke a moratorium on an existing state law. I encourage the Ludington City Council to leave it well enough alone— before the ACLU or other civil rights agencies start class action lawsuits on localities that violate the people’s initiated law with illegal moratoria.
This moratorium passed without any problem in the City Council, and the language used in it was this according to today's LDN:
"... in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, the city finds and determines that it is reasonable and prudent to immediately forbid use of all property and structures in the City of Ludington as facilities for dispensing marijuana or cultivating marijuana plants for medical or any other purposes for a limited time until the zoning ordinance can be amended to address such facilities and operations."
Although it is noted that no one has approached the city with requests about marijuana growth or sales prior to this, by their actions they have opened up potential liability if it is found that the similar moratoriums that are currently being tested in Michigan courts are contrary to the law.
I think if you were registered as per the law and you did try to sell or cultivate within the bounds of your license here while this moratorium is in effect, and the City tried to enforce it, you would likely have a lot of money in your future courtesy of the Ludington taxpayers because of its infringement on your rights.
RJE, other Michigan communities have put in moratoriums back in 2009. Our state and others have had many zoning codes in place dealing with MM for longer. How difficult is it to create zoning law that takes this law into account?
Have they even started talking about this issue until now? As Aquaman says, this is just the LCC making an accord with the poor councilors who weren't allowed to ban Sunday sales of alcohol. Ban Lite.
They do everything else without caring about whether they get it right or not, so why the knee jerk reaction here?
Because they are afraid they won't get their own hands in the pot so to speak!!!lol pun INTENDED!!!LOL
Either that or the old fogies still have 'reefer madness'. I guess they are afraid to support the locals economy and would rather the money be sent of to the 'pot shops' in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit, Mt Pleasant, Muskegon, and TC. Or better yet they would rather the whole thing was done away with altogether and the CARTELS from Central and South America were getting all the profits.
Personally I would rather not see Tattoo shops downtown Unless they LOOK like some of the UPSCALE ones In the cities. AND I would rather pot was DECRIMINALIZED, not legalized. To me it is a health issue not a criminal one, but I guess I am a personal rights libertarian.
The question is who is going to open one of these up and be the guinea pig for the local Law Enforcement? Now *that* will be interesting to see. It better be one of the 'good ol' boys' in it for the money or it will be felony conviction convention town. LOL