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ACLU Sues Michigan Cities for Banning Medical Marijuana

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a suit against the cities of Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Livonia on Wednesday supporting a 61-year-old Birmingham woman’s right to use medical marijuana.

ACLU officials charge that Linda Lott, a licensed medical marijuana patient suffering from multiple sclerosis for 28 years, is having her state rights violated by ordinances in all three cities prohibiting growing and using medical marijuana.

“The people of Michigan voted overwhelmingly in support of compassionate care for patients like Linda Lott whose pain can be eased by the use of medical marijuana,” said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. “In a democracy, city commissions do not have the power to veto statewide ballot initiatives after they have been approved by the voters and enacted into law.”

Lott says she uses the medical marijuana to relieve back spasms, a side effect of her condition.

“Instead of relief, I now live in fear that I could be arrested by local officials for following state law,” Lott said in a statement released by the ACLU.

The lawsuit does not ask for any money but it requests that the cities repeal each of their local ordinances, which ACLU staff attorney Dan Korobkin said “are egregious violations of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.”

If the provisions in Michigan’s law are muddled, as some local officials claim, the intent of Michigan voters was crystal clear. They believe patients should have access to the drug if their doctors believe it can be helpful.

Clarifying this law should be priority for Governor-elect Rick Snyder and the new legislature when they take office in January.

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