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Judge Blocks Permit-Less Medical Marijuana Festival


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09/27/14, 5:40 PM EDT  |
acomb-Oakland Compassion Club members packed up and left the Austrian Society Cultural Park after a judge ruled the group failed to secure a permit for a public event they planned to have. The group was possibly heading over to Stony Creek Metropark to hold a picnic. DAVID S. ANGELL -- FOR THE MACOMB DAILY 


In a rare Saturday morning court hearing, a Macomb County Circuit Court judge upheld Macomb Township’s request to stop a medical marijuana-related festival from taking place later in the day.



Judge Mark Switalski ruled the operators of the sixth annual Harvest Fest failed to obtain the required special event permit that was needed before the event could open at 10 a.m. on the grounds of the Austrian Society Cultural Park on Hayes Road north of 25 Mile Road.



“We are not having the festival,” said Steve Karapandza, president of the Macomb-Oakland Compassion Club, the festival’s sponsoring organization.




Township officials on Friday filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the event from taking place, even though it had been held for several years.



According to township attorney Larry Scott, township officials just learned of the planned event on Friday morning and went to court right away. The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, which provides police patrols for the community, also had not been made aware of it, Scott said.



Without officials reviewing the plans through the permitting process, the township had concerns about unhealthy conditions, violence, unsafe traffic conditions and violations of zoning ordinances, Scott said.



“I understand it’s a public safety issue,” Karapandza said. “There’s no hard feelings. We all understand what they’re saying. We never were told we needed a permit in the past, so we didn’t know we needed one this year.”



The Macomb-Oakland Compassionate Club had obtained a $1 million liability insurance policy as required under the contract with Austrian Society Cultural Park.



Organizers had anticipated about 100 to 150 people to attend, but township officials were worried that late advertisements would attract more than 10 times that amount. Admission was to be $15 for MOCC members and $20 for non members.



Karapandza said the event technically wasn’t a festival, but an annual picnic for the nonprofit organization. It was to include food, two live bands, raffles, and about one dozen vendor booths.



Curt Kitter of the Austrian Society said he presented a contract to the group back in February, but they didn’t respond until earlier this week. He said the group’s failure to secure permits was their oversight.



Still, Kitter was impressed with how club members conducted themselves, especially after having been told they had to disassemble their tents and vacate the property.



“I’ll you what -- I’d rather deal with the Compassionate Club than some of these graduations parties we have,” Kitter said. “They really cleaned up the place before they left.”



By noon Saturday, the club was considering taking their festival -- or picnic -- to either Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township or a couple of place in downtown Detroit.



Asked if he planned to return to Macomb Township for a festival in 2015, Karapandza said he wasn’t sure.



“We’re rolling with the punches,” he said. “We have a lot of people who came down from up north and we have all this food, so we’re more focused on what to do on this nice sunny day than we are for next year.”




Edited by bobandtorey
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gotta say that steve got the two-handed complain slap slap he so richly deserves.  hope it loosened some teeth in that arrogant head of his.  he has not always been so graceful in dealing with folks.  ha ha.  the judge's left hand came around hard on a nice sunny morning and left him dizzy,  reeling and bleeding. that's how you get yours, steve. 

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I think is was a privet place because we have had it their before the judge said he was worried about the party becoming out of hand


I couldn't believe a judge opened up his Court room on a Saturday

oh bob please!  you have to believe a judge would sign something on sat to stop us pt's from supporting each other, if it were not for us we would have no one!



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Listen DIS-jointedone take a breather for god's sake. When I posted oxyfest I was doing it because I was in your corner as far as your dislike for the marijuana fest. The point I was making was that u wouldn't have a festival for other meds so why do it for marijuana. You have a knack for spinning things in whatever manner u can so you can turn it into something you can complain about. I'll take the flyin leap u offered as long as you take a non flyin leap.



Thank you 


But it was not meant just for cannabis users it was meant for sick people to have fun  away from home anyways that is what i was thinking when i went

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