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Bloomfield Township Sued


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Posted: Dec. 16, 2010

Bloomfield Township sued over medical marijuana laws

By BILL LAITNER

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

 

Two Oakland County lawyers sued Bloomfield Township this week to overturn ordinances that they said make it virtually impossible to use medical marijuana in the township.

 

 

 

But the township supervisor said the ordinances do not conflict with state drug laws.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, does not seek money or attorney fees. It was filed on behalf of two anonymous township residents "who don't even know each other" but fear their own police, said attorney Neil Rockind, who filed the suit with attorney Thomas Loeb.

The township ordinances require state-approved patients to register with police, prohibit growing marijuana, and make violations punishable by up to 93 days in jail and $500 fines. Requiring patients to register with the police "has a chilling effect" on their right to use the drug, Loeb said Wednesday.

"There's nothing to prevent some state or county drug task force coming into the township" and demanding patients' names for legal action, he said.

Michigan Department of Community Health officials have said the state's Medical Marijuana Act promises confidentiality to approved patients and caregivers, who provide the drug to patients.

Bloomfield Township Police Capt. Steve Cook said Wednesday that no patients have registered since the ordinances went into effect Oct. 31. Township Supervisor David Payne defended the ordinances, saying: "We actually allow (medical marijuana), unlike those other places that the ACLU sued," referring to Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Livonia.

The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the three cities Nov. 30, saying their ordinances amounted to bans on medical marijuana. The suit was filed on behalf of a married couple -- Linda Lott, 61, who has multiple sclerosis, and her husband, Robert Lott, who has glaucoma. The two are state-approved patients who want to use the drug at their Birmingham home and at a private club in Bloomfield Hills, and want to grow marijuana at their warehouse in Livonia, they said.

Contact Bill Laitner: 586-826-7264 or blaitner@freepress.com

 

 

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News.Bloomfield Township sued over pot rules WITH VIDEO

Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010

 

0diggsdigg ShareThis3By DAVE PHILLIPS

and ANN ZANIEWSKI

Of The Oakland Press

Two local attorneys are suing Bloomfield Township, alleging that its medical marijuana ordinances conflict with state law.

 

According to the lawsuit filed by attorneys Neil Rockind and Thomas Loeb, one township ordinance requires that qualifying patients register with police and provide information such as their name, home address, driver’s license number and date of birth. Another ordinance prohibits the cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana by any registered patient or caregiver.

 

 

 

Failure to register with the Bloomfield Township Police Department could result in up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, according to the lawsuit.

 

It is alleged that the ordinances, which were passed in October, are in conflict with the state’s Medical Marihuana Act.

 

The lawsuit was filed in Oakland County Circuit Court and has been assigned to Judge Denise Langford Morris.

 

“Bloomfield Township has attempted to pierce and undo what the people of the state of Michigan have done,” Rockind said at his Southfield office Wednesday afternoon.

 

“What people do in the privacy of their own homes is sacred. It’s protected. (For the) township to make me or anybody else tell them or anybody else what I am doing in my home is offensive to its core.”

 

“We believe this absolutely violates a person’s right to privacy,” Loeb said, adding that it may even violate one’s state constitutional right to remain silent since medical marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.

 

The lawsuit is declaratory in nature, meaning the plaintiffs (listed anonymously as John Doe and Richard Roe) are not seeking any financial settlement. Continued...

 

12See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (3) » Comment on this story »

“We don’t wish anybody to pay damages or compensation,” Rockind said. “We would just like a judge in this county to compare what Bloomfield Township has done with what the public has proved is the law. Bloomfield Township and other communities need to stop interfering with patients who are attempting to follow Michigan’s medical marijuana law.”

 

Both lawyers took offense to a provision in the township’s ordinances which states that no more than two medical marijuana patients can live in the same home.

 

“Many of these diseases are hereditary,” Loeb said. “It’s not at all unusual from a medical standpoint for a family to have more than one person suffer from the same illness.”

 

Rockind took it a step further.

 

“Let’s say three people are living in a home and are all cancer sufferers,” he said. “They all decided they would live together because they met in chemotherapy or therapy or treatment. They all happen to use marijuana. None of them are growing. This ordinance gets passed. One of them is supposed to move out? Do you draw straws? It’s insulting, and the bottom line is we’re going to do something about it.”

 

Bloomfield Township Supervisor David Payne said he’s seen the lawsuit and it has been referred to the township’s attorney.

 

“When we developed the ordinance, we were very careful to consult with legal counsel, and we believed we developed an ordinance that’s consistent with laws,” Payne said.

 

The township has 21 days to answer the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday.

 

Contact staff writer Dave Phillips at 248-745-4631 or dave.phillips@oakpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @dave_phillips1. Contact staff writer Ann Zaniewski at (248) 745-4628 or ann.zaniewski@oakpress.com. Follow her on Twitter @OPCourtReporter.

12See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (3) » Comment on this story »

 

123See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (3) » Comment on this story »

 

1234See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (3) » Comment on this story »

By DAVE PHILLIPS

and ANN ZANIEWSKI

Of The Oakland Press

 

Two local attorneys are suing Bloomfield Township, alleging that its medical marijuana ordinances conflict with state law.

 

According to the lawsuit filed by attorneys Neil Rockind and Thomas Loeb, one township ordinance requires that qualifying patients register with police and provide information such as their name, home address, driver’s license number and date of birth. Another ordinance prohibits the cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana by any registered patient or caregiver.

 

 

 

Failure to register with the Bloomfield Township Police Department could result in up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, according to the lawsuit.

 

It is alleged that the ordinances, which were passed in October, are in conflict with the state’s Medical Marihuana Act.

 

The lawsuit was filed in Oakland County Circuit Court and has been assigned to Judge Denise Langford Morris.

 

“Bloomfield Township has attempted to pierce and undo what the people of the state of Michigan have done,” Rockind said at his Southfield office Wednesday afternoon.

 

“What people do in the privacy of their own homes is sacred. It’s protected. (For the) township to make me or anybody else tell them or anybody else what I am doing in my home is offensive to its core.”

 

“We believe this absolutely violates a person’s right to privacy,” Loeb said, adding that it may even violate one’s state constitutional right to remain silent since medical marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.

 

The lawsuit is declaratory in nature, meaning the plaintiffs (listed anonymously as John Doe and Richard Roe) are not seeking any financial settlement.

 

“We don’t wish anybody to pay damages or compensation,” Rockind said. “We would just like a judge in this county to compare what Bloomfield Township has done with what the public has proved is the law. Bloomfield Township and other communities need to stop interfering with patients who are attempting to follow Michigan’s medical marijuana law.”

 

Both lawyers took offense to a provision in the township’s ordinances which states that no more than two medical marijuana patients can live in the same home.

 

“Many of these diseases are hereditary,” Loeb said. “It’s not at all unusual from a medical standpoint for a family to have more than one person suffer from the same illness.”

 

Rockind took it a step further.

 

“Let’s say three people are living in a home and are all cancer sufferers,” he said. “They all decided they would live together because they met in chemotherapy or therapy or treatment. They all happen to use marijuana. None of them are growing. This ordinance gets passed. One of them is supposed to move out? Do you draw straws? It’s insulting, and the bottom line is we’re going to do something about it.”

 

Bloomfield Township Supervisor David Payne said he’s seen the lawsuit and it has been referred to the township’s attorney.

 

“When we developed the ordinance, we were very careful to consult with legal counsel, and we believed we developed an ordinance that’s consistent with laws,” Payne said.

 

The township has 21 days to answer the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday.

 

Contact staff writer Dave Phillips at 248-745-4631 or dave.phillips@oakpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @dave_phillips1. Contact staff writer Ann Zaniewski at (248) 745-4628 or ann.zaniewski@oakpress.com. Follow her on Twitter @OPCourtReporter.

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