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Judge Rules Livonia Can Keep Tough Stance On Medical Marijuana

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Judge rules Livonia can keep tough stance on medical marijuana


7:44 PM, Jul. 28, 2011


A Wayne County judge has dismissed the legal challenge of a Livonia city ordinance which the American Civil Liberties Union has charged amounts to a ban on medical-marijuana use.


But Livonia officials said the ordinance will help to keep their community free of crime that is attracted by marijuana users.


The 29-page ruling from Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Baxter lets the city to enforce a zoning ordinance that forbids violating any federal law — including drug laws that criminalize possession of marijuana. Although Livonia’s mayor said the zoning ordinance should not stop legitimate medical-marijuana users from using the drug in their homes, Livonia’s city attorney said anyone who does could face arrest.


“We’ve said from the beginning that somebody who’s a legitimate user and not engaging in a business (involving marijuana) is not going to be a target” of Livonia police, City Attorney Donald Knapp said.


“But if somehow law enforcement comes upon you (using marijuana), you could be prosecuted,” Knapp said today. Baxter’s ruling was released Wednesday afternoon, he said.


Livonia’s ordinance is not a criminal statute but instead governs land use, “to keep marijuana businesses — grow operations — from sprouting up in the neighborhoods, in our industrial corridors and next to every little pizzeria,” Knapp said.


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette intervened in the case on Livonia’s behalf, and the city’s leaders “greatly appreciated that,” Mayor Jack Kirksey said. Kirksey said he called Schuette on Wednesday to thank him.


“We’re not in any way trying to stop those people who legitimately use marijuana and find it tempers their pain. But we think it brings a certain criminal element and diminishes the quality of life in a community,” Kirksey said today.


ACLU lawyers challenged the ordinance on behalf of a Birmingham couple, Linda and Robert Lott, who wanted to raise medical marijuana in the Livonia warehouse they own. The couple plans to appeal, ACLU attorney Dan Korobkin said.


The couple’s challenge to nearly identical statutes in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, said to be modeled after the Livonia ordinance, is under way in Oakland County Circuit Court, Korobkin said today.


“All of these ordinances say the same thing: ‘No violating federal law in our town.’ And all of those ordinances were specifically enacted to block the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, which is exactly what the act says that (a local community) can’t do,” Korobkin said.


Linda Lott has battled multiple sclerosis for nearly 30 years, she said in December, when the couple’s lawsuit was filed. At that time, she said that the ordinances in the three communities were forcing her to “choose between being a criminal or being in pain.”


Lott challenged the ordinance in Birmingham because she lives there, and challenged the one in Bloomfield Hills because she liked to spend hours a day at a private club there and must use marijuana occasionally during the day to quell her disease symptoms, the couple said.


Both Lotts said they possessed state approval cards from the Michigan Department of Community Health to use medical marijuana. The ACLU has argued that Linda Lott, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, experiences painful and relentless muscle spasms that can’t be controlled by conventional medicines. Medical marijuana could help, but the couple have said they fear arrest and prosecution by local officials if they grow or use medical marijuana in any of the three communities they sued.


ACLU officials said today they were disappointed by the ruling.


“This judge ... forces Linda and her husband, along with countless other patients, to make an untenable choice between health care and potentially their freedom. It’s exactly the choice that Michigan voters wanted to keep patients from having to make when they approved the act” in 2008, Korobkin said.


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




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They're not joking when they say a legit user is no concern. I was granted permission to medicate on probation in livonia by Judge Kavanaugh, they are compassionate and considerate people, its an honest city and if you present yourself properly and show that you are a responsible user and its truly beneficial to you they won't have an issue with it. Aside from the permission received on probation I've been pulled over in Livonia w/ 2 ounces and a Roor Steamroller on me, the cops looked over everything and looked at my card, this specific incident was on a saturday evening, no way to call in to verify my card, however they still honored my card, returned my meds and paraphernalia and let me return on my way.


***I do not condone driving with paraphernalia by any means, I was in the process of moving and grabbing the last few items from my old house to my new house.***

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If you live in Wayne County, note that Wendy Baxter 3rd Circuit Court seat is up for vote in 2012.


On September 11, 2001, the Judicial Tenure Commission voted to censure Baxter. She was charged with trying to influence the outcome of a murder case, and then trying to cover her actions. Please see: http://www.clr.org/Baxter-Wendy.html and http://www.michbar.org/opinions/supreme/2001/091101/12334.html

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Judges can be as 'corrupt' and as 'stupid' as anyone else.


Sitting on a 'bench' does not make anyone immune from 'greed', 'ignorance' and 'self righteousness'.


If anything. it usually only provides a means and a pulpit to push forward 'personal agendas' under the 'robe' of legality.

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Baxter is saying that the city of Livonia is in violation on the voter approved Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), that the State law trumps the Livonia law.

Using the same logic, she states that Federal marijuana law trumps State’s medical marihuana law. She goes on to say that to qualify under the MMMA, patients must obtain a written statement from their doctor explaining the need for the use of marihuana. She than add that this statement is the same as the prescription a doctor might write. The writing of a prescription for marijuana is banned under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (page 21 http://www.ci.livonia.mi.us/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=aUNAA%2bVj6vU%3d&tabid=1155 ).


The MMMA allows doctors to discuss marijuana with their patients. This discussion is protected under federal law. Doctors are also allowed to give their opinion as to whether they think marijuana might be an affective source of medication for their patients. No where in the MMMA does it say that a doctor’s opinion has to be in writing. Under Section 4, it does say that for a patient to register, that must send in a written opinion. Under Section 8, one will do best to have a written opinion. Unlike a prescription, an opinion is not a directive to do something. This Wendy is why a prescription and an opinion is not the same.


The goal of the CSA is not to regulate the practice of medicine (page 24). The question before Baxter was not whether there was a conflict between Federal CSA and State law, but between State and local law. In her summery, Baxter has detailed that the Livonia law is incorrect. And because doctors do not write prescriptions for marihuana, the MMMA does not ban marihuana use by physicians for a medical purpose.


I see that the State of Michigan is listed as a co-defendant on the case. If the State is a party, was not this case in the wrong court?

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