Jump to content

Legal Costs Rise In Royal Oak Pot Ban Battle


Recommended Posts

ROYAL OAK — Opponents of home-grown medical marijuana say it will hurt property values, increase crime and provide local youth easy access to a gateway drug.

 

They say the cost to society could be high.

 

So too could the cost to taxpayers, who will foot the bill for cities to fight lawsuits like the one filed by multiple sclerosis patient Christopher Frizzo, 46, of Royal Oak.

 

Frizzo isn’t seeking monetary damages. He is asking an Oakland County Circuit Court judge to void a new Royal Oak zoning ordinance that bans the cultivation of medical marijuana in residential and commercial areas.

 

The City Commission approved spending up to $18,000 to defend its ordinance.

 

“That’s a ballpark figure I came up with if this case is appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court,” City Attorney David Gillam said.

 

Frizzo’s attorney, Paul Tylenda, said, “That doesn’t sound right. It seems very conservative. You can have a $500 morning just for being in court.”

 

Legal bills also are being racked up in Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia, Bloomfield Township and Lyon Township for their local ordinances on medical marijuana.

 

“Five Oakland County communities are being sued. That $18,000 is Royal Oak specific. It’s the tip of the iceberg,” said Tylenda, who is representing Frizzo for free with co-counsel Neil Rockind. “I hear all these intangible arguments of property values going down. Well, here’s a real cost, and it’s just going to get worse. That’s just the initial deposit.”

 

In Royal Oak, qualifying patients can use medical marijuana, but they can’t grow their own, or have a local caregiver do it for them even though state law allows up to 12 plants per patient. Frizzo’s lawsuit says he has both limited mobility and income. He wants to grow his own medicine to reduce the severity of muscle spasms and nausea while increasing his appetite.

 

The court’s decision will be appealed by either side, Tylenda said.

 

“Royal Oak’s ordinance is creative,” he added. “You can use medical marijuana, but you can’t grow it. I’m not aware of other communities with this version. The most common one says nothing is allowed that conflicts with federal law, which is a back door way to ban it.”

 

In February, Royal Oak retained the law firm of Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Hampton, Truex and Morley to defend its ordinance at a billing rate of $150 an hour. Gillam said to date the city has paid $3,800 of the $18,000 purchase order for “specialized legal services.”

 

Tylenda said the two sides have only been to court one time for a minor procedural matter.

 

“The sad part is that’s money out of the general fund,” Tylenda said. “It’s the same money to pay for police and fire at a time of huge layoffs. It’s being diverted to defend the action of elected officials when the city can least afford it.”

 

City Commissioner Chuck Semchena said Royal Oak can’t afford not to fight the Frizzo lawsuit even if it means appeals to higher courts.

 

“If Frizzo wins, it opens the doors for hundreds of grow houses here,” Semchena said. “Large quantities of marijuana will be grown and property values will drop, police costs will go up and it will have a negative effect on children and neighborhoods.”

 

Semchena also called Frizzo’s lawsuit frivolous and said he expects it will be dismissed.

 

“Then, we’ll be awarded attorney fees,” Semchena said.

 

A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision could bode well for Royal Oak. The ruling says the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act doesn’t give anyone the right to grow, possess or use medical marijuana.

 

“The court says the act creates an affirmative defense for people arrested or charged with growing, possessing or using marijuana,” Gillam said. “Someone can say that they are allowed because they are a medical marijuana patient and then they have to show they are in compliance with the act.”

 

That case could end up before the Michigan Supreme Court, too.

 

Tylenda said he is representing Frizzo pro bono “because it’s the right thing to do.” He acknowledged that some medical marijuana advocates are in the “legalization camp” while others only back patients’ rights. The son of a woman who has fought cancer twice, Tylenda said he is at the latter end of the political pot spectrum.

 

“Mr. Frizzo isn’t faking. His illness is legitimate,” Tylenda said. “This is a just cause. The city is denying him a choice of relief.”

 

Tylenda said Royal Oak and other communities being sued should have continued moratoriums on medical marijuana, which he likens to sitting on a legal fence, or welcomed and regulated it.

 

“Smart zoning is where the control lies,” Tylenda said.

 

He points to Garden City, which has a zone for grow facilities but doesn’t allow them within 1,000 feet of each other.

 

“Garden City hired a planning consultant to figure it out,” Tylenda said. “It won’t be like Los Angeles with one on every corner. A city can have proper controls and make some money. Rezone a property and regulate the hell out of it. The law is easy to change. Attitudes are not. People think they are fighting the devil on this.”

 

 

 

http://www.dailytribune.com/articles/2011/05/01/news/doc4dbcad5b50f97160575709.txt?viewmode=fullstory

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ehhh I haven't heard about the ruling saying that the law doesn't allow for medical Marijuana use but only as a defense... Is that true?

 

This is just a conservative judges "interpretation" of the law. He can interpret it anyway he chooses. Kind of odd that he says it doesn't allow for the growing and possession when the law clearly states that a patient can have 12 plants and 2.5 oz. of usable material. What a twisted web we weave....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone should file a motion in a court of law that excludes the future impact of children from being brought up in any court. Unless actual studies, video, and evidence of activities such as selling drugs to children, minors, or anyone else in non compliance with the state laws is shown, there is no plausible basis for this argument. I understand people have children. I understand they fear for their child's future. Unfortunately, the sad fact is, your child is more likely to get pregnant or be the producer of a child before they'd ever be sold medical marijuana from a CH or patient.

 

Saying that the children have access to a "gateway drug" is merely propaganda and unfortunately, a good percentage of the mainstream population are imbeciles, and thus instantly believe this could be a possible scenario.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone should file a motion in a court of law that excludes the future impact of children from being brought up in any court. Unless actual studies, video, and evidence of activities such as selling drugs to children, minors, or anyone else in non compliance with the state laws is shown, there is no plausible basis for this argument. I understand people have children. I understand they fear for their child's future. Unfortunately, the sad fact is, your child is more likely to get pregnant or be the producer of a child before they'd ever be sold medical marijuana from a CH or patient.

 

Saying that the children have access to a "gateway drug" is merely propaganda and unfortunately, a good percentage of the mainstream population are imbeciles, and thus instantly believe this could be a possible scenario.

 

Some good points, here, Big !!

 

And remember that the real Gateway Drug is the Vicoden or Percocet or Oxycodone which is in mom or dad's medicine cabinet !

 

Dr. jinx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision could bode well for Royal Oak. The ruling says the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act doesn’t give anyone the right to grow, possess or use medical marijuana.

“The court says the act creates an affirmative defense for people arrested or charged with growing, possessing or using marijuana,” Gillam said. “Someone can say that they are allowed because they are a medical marijuana patient and then they have to show they are in compliance with the act.”

 

 

http://www.dailytrib...wmode=fullstory

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the ????????????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...