The City of Wyoming is currently dealing with a medical marijuana patient with diabetes who has challenged an ordinance from 2010 that states it’s illegal to cultivate marijuana in Grand Rapids suburb according to local zoning laws. The city won in the district court, only to lose on appeal and now it’s in state courts hands to figure out what is wrong and what is right. Problems like these will continue to pop up as long as there is such a huge discrepancy between federal, state, and now zoning laws. On a federal level, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug so when a state does legalize medical marijuana, the federal government can still intrude as they see fit. Now, another threat is on the horizon and that threat is called “zoning laws” which is a set of rules that can contradict the fact that the state has voted for the legalization of medical marijuana. These zoning regulations basically work as community within a community (communinception), and are a source of constant criticism by medical marijuana advocates.

Banning the Sale of Marijuana

A lot of towns have already implemented bans regarding the sale of medical marijuana. However, there aren’t that many dispensaries in those towns that would confront them on a local level let alone a state level. Michigan and California have plenty of medical marijuana users. For instance, Riverside’s current hot topic is whether the 4 year ban of marijuana clubs should be lifted or not, considering the fact that the entire ban might be illegal in the first place. If the verdict proves to be positive one (i.e. the ban is lifted) then it will affect at least 200 cities in California and three in Michigan simply because they already implemented blanket bans under questionable circumstances.

Too Many Loopholes

You have to bear in mind that these bans concern primarily the business side of selling marijuana. In other words, all states that have already legalized medical marijuana do not prohibit the consumption of medical marijuana by medical marijuana patients but are merely restrictive of dispensaries making it either difficult to open one or making it easy to shut it down because of poorly implemented regulations (i.e. California). Ironically, only California and Colorado have actual laws that can ban dispensaries in those two states. Local legislators that don’t see eye to eye with medical marijuana have been quite sneaky lately and pushed for bans based on land use. Basically, their main argument is that marijuana is still a Schedule I drug like heroin and LSD and therefore a dispensary should be nowhere near a school or a church, or a community that is facing drug problems, or a neighborhood with an inclining crime rate, or…well, you get the point. Yes, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug but that doesn’t mean it has the same effect as LSD and it sure as hell doesn’t mean it will provoke a civil war outburst when you open a dispensary.


Author Mark Levins

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