The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Thursday that municipalities in the state which have banned medical marijuana businesses are in violation of state law.
The ruling came down more than 2,000 miles from Yakima, but it could be watched closely in Washington as localities continue to ban both medical and recreational marijuana businesses under ordinances that will most likely be challenged in court.
Yakima bans both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana businesses from operating within the city, despite state laws making them legal. Possession of certain amounts of marijuana and marijuana-infused products remains legal in the city under state law.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan Supreme Court ruled towns cannot ban medical marijuana businesses because it violates the way Michigan’s constitution separates powers of the state and its municipalities. Supporters of the medical marijuana law say the ruling means cities, as arms of the state, have to uphold the same rights the state provides its residents.
Medical marijuana was legalized by Michigan voters in 2008. The initiative was passed with 63 percent of the vote.
Yakima passed its ban on medical marijuana businesses in 2011 and passed its ban on recreational marijuana businesses in January, following an opinion issued by the state Attorney General’s Office that said Initiative 502 does not explicitly prohibit localities from banning such businesses.
But at the time Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his opinion wouldn’t be the final say on the matter, and that it would likely be settled either by the Legislature, which has the authority to change the law after two years, or the state Supreme Court.