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Big Daddys Sued By Chesterfield Township

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Chesterfield Township is trying to boot a medical marijuana facility from its borders by alleging it violates the zoning ordinance.


The township last Friday sued Big Daddy’s Management Group and three individuals in Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens for the medical marijuana facility at 52001 Gratiot Ave., between 23 Mile and 24 Mile roads.


“The use of the property as a marijuana dispensary and retail store is illegal and a flagrant violation” of the zoning ordinance, the township says in the lawsuit.


The township says the facility cannot exist in its M-2 (general manufacturing) zoned area. Its function also fails to meet any of the 10 special land uses, such as landfills, race tracks and junk yards, as well as the industrial uses allowed in both M-1 an M-2 zoning, according to the township.


In addition, the defendants failed to obtain a “certificate of zoning compliance” and never submitted a “site plan for change of use of the property,” the township says.


On top of that, it violates a new township ordinance that specifically bans a “medical marijuana dispensary, compassion center or other similar operation for the consumption or distribution of medical marijuana,” the township said.


The accusations spurred an emphatic response from James Rasor, an attorney who represents Big Daddy’s and its owners, Rick and Sue Ferris, who also operate a facility in Oak Park that was raided by police in January.


“We have always maintained that our client’s operation is completely, 100 percent legal according to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and the ordinances of Chesterfield Township,” Rasor said.


“All the interaction that goes on between the caregiver and patients is legal based on the Michigan Medical Marijuana law. The township is being prejudiced and discriminatory against handicapped people who have had a license issued by the state that allows them to use medical marijuana.”


Also named was the structure’s landlord, Pasquale Acciavatti. His attorney, Gary Gendernalik, said his client is not involved in the business’ operation.


He said the prior occupant was East Jordan Iron Works, which sold water mains and pipes and fire hydrants.


State law passed by voters in 2008 allows those who obtain state certification to use marijuana, per a doctor’s prescription, for a “debilitating medical condition” among those listed in the law or approved by state health officials. It allows a certified patient to possess up to 2-1/2 ounces and grow up to 12 plants. Certified caregivers can supply five patients.


The MMA has produced a litany of legal battles throughout the state, particularly in Oakland County, where police have raided several facilities.


In countering the township, Rasor also argued selective enforcement, noting that many businesses surrounding Big Daddy’s are retail in nature and were not required to obtain the approvals that the township says Big Daddy’s failed to get.


He added that the township passed the ordinance banning medical marijuana facilities after Bid Daddy’s opened last fall so benefit from the “grandfather” clause.


In its arsenal, the township cites a June 28 opinion by state Attorney Bill Schuette, that “prohibits the collective growing or sharing of marijuana plants, and specifically prohibits dispensaries and compassion centers,” the township said.


Schuette in the opinion says “each patient’s plant must be grown and maintained in a separate, enclosed, locked facility that is only accessible to the registered patient or the patient’s registered care giver.”


Rasor accused Schuette of misusing his office because he opposed any legalization of marijuana prior to the MMA’s passage by more than 60 percent of state voters.


“We believe the attorney general’s opinion is a political document that tortures and strains common words; a rational reading (of the MMA) does not support his position,” Rasor said.


Chesterfield Township Supervisor Michael Lovelock declined to comment on the lawsuit.


Despite the lawsuit, Rasor commended Chesterfield officials for pursuing the matter civilly, contrary to Oakland County officials.


“This lawsuit is Chesterfield’s attempt to clarify the law about whether this operation can exist in this zoning district,” he said. “At least they didn’t raid the facility and arrest handicapped people.”


Regarding its Oak Park facility, the operators have not been charged and are continuing to operate, he said.


Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies seized $2,874 in cash, nine pounds of harvested marijuana stored in a freezer, five pounds of packaged marijuana, about two dozen marijuana plants, and 10 pounds of baked goods containing suspected marijuana from facilities on North End Street, according to a published report.


Big Daddy’s operated an Oak Park warehouse ,where indoor cultivation equipment was warehoused and fabricated for sale at shops in Chesterfield Township and Hazel Park, the report said. It promotes hydroponic gardening — growing plants without dirt.Source

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Please stop slamming our community members when they get hit by our government.


This is simple. If every patient had the perfect caregiver, there would be no dispensaries.


The needs of every patient would be taken care of and there would be zero customers for the dispensaries.


The fact that they exist shows that we have not arrived at perfection yet.


Making that observation is not a slam on caregivers. And it isn't the fault of caregivers either. There are simply gaps to fill.


It is a bad reason to slam on them just because these folks are willing to take the risk, step forward and fill a gap or two.


And please stop bashing all of them because of the actions of one or two.

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