Bloomfield Hills' Medical Marijuana Ordinance Challenged in Lawsuit
In addition, the ordinance limits the number of medical marijuana patients that can live at one address and prohibits growing medical marijuana anywhere in Bloomfield Township. Violation of the ordinance is a 93-day misdemeanor carrying a $500 fine.
Bloomfield Hills is among several municipalities that have passed ordinances that restrict the provisions of the Medical Marijuana Act, criminalize conduct authorized by the Act, or both.
Now the ordinance is the subject of a lawsuit filed against the township by two crafty [their “clients” are John and Jane Doe] veteran criminal defense attorneys: Tom Loeb and Neil Rockind. The lawsuit, undoubtedly heading to the Michigan Supreme Court, does not seek money damages but rather, declarative and injunctive relief.
Township by township, the MMA is coming under fire for a glaring flaw: it is a ruse for recreational pot users. Yes, there are legitimate medical marijuana users out there, in spades, for whom the MMA was designed to help. There are also many “patients” whose medical records were reviewed with a passing glance by a physician more interested in the high-volume review fees than in determining whether the person has a genuine chronic medical condition of the sort required by the MMA. The LawBlogger wonders how many certified users, among the tens of thousands of backlogged applicants, are under the age of 25; or are college kids whose only chronic condition is their desire to party down.
As these legal challenges grind through the court system over the next two or three years, the MMA will be subject to death-by-ordinance on a township-by-township basis. Attorneys Rockind and Loeb remarked in their press conference announcing their lawsuit that the ordinance in Bloomfield Hills cannot stand to the extent it contradicts a valid Michigan law.
While it may not be the best example of tightly drafted legislation; while it undoubtedly suffers from problems of perception and misconception, the MMA is a valid state law. The appellate courts will have no choice but to invalidate ordinances that limit the scope of the Act, or criminalize it’s legitimate purposes.
Once again, we pose the question: should marijuana just be outright legalized in Michigan? We are interested in your view on this subject. To weigh in, simply comment on this post or register a comment on the discussion board of our FaceBook fan page.
For more information about the MMA and its certification process, click on this link.
Ludington Update: Bloomfield Hills is not the only municipality seeking to restrict the use of medical marijuana; check out the moratorium proposed in Ludington.
Royal Oak Update: Feb 3, 2011. Now, Royal Oak is getting in on the act of restricting patients' rights under the MMA by proscribing grow operations within the city limits.
Ann Arbor Update: Of all places, Ann Arbor is also getting in on the ordinance dance. For its part, however, there seems to be a delay in bringing the issue to a vote, as the AA City Council continues to revise the proposed ordinance. Compared to other municipalities, the ordinance proposed in Ann Arbor seems much more in-tune with the MMA. As the city attempts to properly define the terms of its ordinace, one medical marijuana entrepreneur is challenging the ordinance in a law suit before it has even passed, claiming unconstitutional vagueness.
Montana Update: For it's part, the Republican-controlled state legislature is poised to pass a bill repealing the MMA in that state.