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Michigan Court of Appeals Strikes Down Zoning Restriction on Protected Medical Marihuana Activity

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently struck down a municipal zoning provision which made it a local violation for registered caregivers licensed under Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”) to partake in medical marihuana activities in a commercial zoning location.  In Deruiter v Township of Byron, the township permitted medical marihuana related use of property by a registered caregiver only as a “home occupation.”

The Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the zoning restriction directly conflicted with the MMMA, which broadly permits registered caregivers to operate medical marihuana activities provided the medical marihuana is stored in an “enclosed, locked facility.”  The Court found that zoning restrictions prohibiting locations at which a registered caregiver may exercise medical marihuana activities effectively deny a registered caregiver the broad rights and privileges granted under the MMMA.  Accordingly, the township’s “home occupation” ordinance was ruled preempted by the MMMA.

This case affirms that, outside the limited restrictions found in the MMMA itself, licensed registered caregivers (and patients) likely possess broad freedom in exercising the rights provided by the MMMA.

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