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The Michigan Supreme court ruled yesterday that cities and towns could require patients and caregivers to get grow permits and require building inspections.  Below is the first page of their ruling and at the bottom is a link to the entire decision.   This is sure to be litigated further so it is not a immediate red flag, but something to be aware of...

 

DeRUITER v TOWNSHIP OF BYRON Docket No. 158311. Argued on application for leave to appeal October 3, 2019. Decided April 27, 2020. Christie DeRuiter, a registered qualifying medical marijuana patient and a registered primary caregiver to qualifying patients, brought an action in the Kent Circuit Court against Byron Township, alleging that the township’s zoning ordinance—which required that a primary caregiver obtain a permit before cultivating medical marijuana and that the caregiver cultivate the marijuana within a dwelling or garage in a residentially zoned area within the township as part of a regulated home occupation at a full-time residence—directly conflicted with and was therefore preempted by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the MMMA), MCL 333.26421 et seq. DeRuiter cultivated marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility at a commercially zoned property she rented in the township; she did not obtain a permit from the township before cultivating the medical marijuana as a primary caregiver. At the township’s direction, DeRuiter’s landlord ordered her to stop cultivating medical marijuana at the property or face legal action. When the township attempted to enforce its zoning ordinance, DeRuiter filed the instant action, seeking a declaratory judgment regarding the ordinance’s legality; the township countersued, seeking a declaration that the ordinance did not conflict with the MMMA. Both parties moved for summary disposition, and the court, Paul J. Sullivan, J., granted summary disposition in favor of DeRuiter, holding that the ordinance directly conflicted with the MMMA and that it was therefore preempted by the act. The Court of Appeals, HOEKSTRA, P.J., and MURPHY and MARKEY, JJ., affirmed the trial court order, concluding that the MMMA preempted defendant’s home-occupation zoning ordinance because the ordinance directly conflicted with the MMMA by prohibiting what the MMMA permitted and because the ordinance improperly imposed regulations and penalties upon persons who engage in the MMMA-compliant medical use of marijuana. 325 Mich App 275 (2018). Byron Township applied for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court, which ordered and heard oral argument on whether to grant the application or take other action. 503 Mich 942 (2019). In a unanimous opinion by Justice BERNSTEIN, the Supreme Court, in lieu of granting leave to appeal, held:

https://courts.michigan.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/Clerks/Recent%20Opinions/19-20-Term-Opinions/158311.pdf

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The way I read it the renter was at odds with the property owner. Never a good thing especially with growing. No sense in trying to force a property owner into a situation they don't feel comfortable with EVEN IF you win in court. 

Landlords are people too. Put yourself in their shoes before you ever start down the road dealing with them. No one likes getting forced into a situation you didn't want in the first place. 

I watched on the news that tenants want to be able to skip their house payments because of covid19. What if your landlord has just a couple units for rent and they spent their life savings on them so they would have an income to support themselves? Always put yourself in the other person's shoes when thinking up ways to help yourself. It has to work for everyone or it's not sustainable. 

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I would suggest that this decision will lead to local cities, towns and villages enacting caregiver zoning laws that will not only require a permit, but also inspections that limit the square footage of your grow, require inspections related to electrical and plumbing issues and discharge issues related to how you dispose of runoff.   The decision is not focused on using industrial property or landlord rights, but rather permits and inspections of your grow.

The court states in their conclusion, pg 16... "Accordingly, Byron Township may require primary caregivers to obtain a permit and pay a fee before they use a building or structure within the township for the cultivation of medical marijuana."

The final sentence of the court decision is.... "We hold that Byron’s Township’s home-occupation zoning ordinance does not directly conflict with the MMMA. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeals’ holding to the contrary and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

If you have 34 minutes or so you can watch the arguments that were made to the MSC...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYLEkDNJs-Q

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

From a residential point of view, the best thing going against this ruling, is that local gov.'s would have to create new bureaucracy. I can't see too many of them taking that too seriously. To fund it, they would have to impose a fairly high permit fee, probably over a hundred dollars per residence per year. That alone would cause people to NOT apply for a permit, just as most people do not apply for building permits when they work on their houses. Too expensive, too much red tape. Most just do the work and nothing ever comes of it.

Are they going to add the job of inspecting weed grows to the building departments? Would they hire a 'weed inspector'? Lots of issues and money problems there...

I don't see anything coming out of this that will affect most home growers. At worst, people would have to grow 'under cover' AGAIN. Which sucks, but most of us are used to doing that anyway.

 

   

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14 hours ago, Mr. Wilson said:

From a residential point of view, the best thing going against this ruling, is that local gov.'s would have to create new bureaucracy. I can't see too many of them taking that too seriously. To fund it, they would have to impose a fairly high permit fee, probably over a hundred dollars per residence per year. That alone would cause people to NOT apply for a permit, just as most people do not apply for building permits when they work on their houses. Too expensive, too much red tape. Most just do the work and nothing ever comes of it.

Are they going to add the job of inspecting weed grows to the building departments? Would they hire a 'weed inspector'? Lots of issues and money problems there...

I don't see anything coming out of this that will affect most home growers. At worst, people would have to grow 'under cover' AGAIN. Which sucks, but most of us are used to doing that anyway.

 

   

What they did in a situation I was involved with was be really nosey around the neighborhood and when they think they have a pot grower they trump up a reason to be at your house for inspection. Like saying they need to come in and take a look at your water meter. Once they have their foot in the door they explain they want you to have a permit and inspections for your weed business. They use the same forms and inspectors they use for inspecting rental units. A periodic fee and inspections process. 

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