Municipalities and Medical Marijuana

By: Krissia J. Krohn

Municipalities may have more authority when dealing with the medical use of marijuana in the context of marijuana caregivers than they are aware of. They could possess the authority to regulate land use and impose other regulations such as paying a fee or obtaining a permit for primary caregivers.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act provides certain protections under state law for the medical use of marijuana. A qualifying patient and a primary caregiver, who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card, are not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner. They also cannot be denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with the MMMA.

The MMMA defines “medical use of marijuana” as the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, extraction, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer or transportation of marijuana, marijuana-infused products, or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.

A “qualifying patient” is a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition. A “primary caregiver” is a person who is at least 21 years old and has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marijuana.

While the MMMA provides certain protections for the medical use of marijuana in the context of a marijuana caregiver, municipalities can still maintain some authority. The MMMA does not nullify a municipality’s authority so long as the regulations are not unreasonable and inconsistent with regulations established by state law. Municipalities have the authority to regulate land use under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, as long as it does not prohibit or penalize all caregiver medical marijuana cultivation.

Adam D. Flory practices in the areas of municipal law, probate litigation, professional liability, civil litigation, and zoning law at SMITH BOVILL, P.C. These articles are intended to introduce various issues arising within this field of practice and are not intended to replace individual legal advice. If you have questions, please contact Adam at the firm’s Saginaw office.