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Court overturns Wyoming's ban on medical marijuana | News

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Court overturns Wyoming's ban on medical marijuana

Update at 11:00 P.M. (WZZM) - Now that he's won in court, Wyoming resident John Ter Beek says he will start growing marijuana in his basement as soon as possible.

"I follow the law," he says. "The law says I can grow, so I'm going to grow."

In 2010, when Wyoming banned the cultivation and use of medical marijuana in the city, state certified patient John Ter Beek sued the city. After losing in Kent County Circuit Court, Wednesday Ter Beek learned the state court of appeals unanimously supported his case.

"I'm very happy the appellate court took a close look at it," he says.

In 2008, 63 percent of Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana. The court of appeals says Wyoming and other municipalities cannot overrule the people.

"I knew it," says Ter Beek. "I knew they couldn't do what they were trying to do. They will not let Wyoming continue to spit on 63 percent of the voters."

Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll says the city adopted the ordinance because marijuana is still illegal under federal law. He says making medical marijuana available in Michigan puts a big burden on the police.

"Who is going to be able to have the controlled substance in their possession? Are they legal or not legal? It's going to be a very big nightmare for law enforcement," says Poll.

Ter Beek says he uses medical marijuana to cope with a bad back and leg pain caused by diabetes.

"It really hurts to stand for more than two or three minutes," he says. "I need it."

He says he's now paying about $350 for an ounce of marijuana. He guesses he can grow the medicinal drug in his basement for about $175 an ounce.

"It means I will be able to have affordable marijuana," he explains.

Wyoming can appeal the ruling to the State Supreme Court. The mayor says no decision has been made. He says the appeals court ruling gives the city some guidance.

"It's part of process we anticipated," he says. "We needed to have a judgment and now the judgment has come down. We certainly will abide by the law."


WYOMING, Mich. (AP) -- The state appeals court has ruled that a West Michigan zoning ordinance prohibiting the use, manufacture or cultivation of marijuana conflicts with state law.

The court says in an order released Wednesday that the city of Wyoming's sanction on medical marijuana "is void and unenforceable."
It reverses a Kent County Circuit Court order in favor of Wyoming.

Retired attorney John Ter Beek sued the city after council members voted in 2010 to make marijuana use illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Ter Beek is a qualified medical marijuana patient. He has not been charged with violating Wyoming's ordinance.

Wyoming Mayor, Jack A. Poll issued a statement Wednesday: "We haven't had a chance yet to review the ruling overturning the City's ban on marijuana. Right now I'm not aware of which parts of our ordinance were overturned. Our attorney, Jack Sluiter, is looking into it and I expect to hear from him with regards to what our next steps will be. We will, of course, comply with what the court tells us to do, although we feel that Michigan's law, as written, does not give enough guidance to public safety departments."

Michigan voters approved medical marijuana use in 2008. Federal law still prohibits the sale and cultivation of the drug.


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