Legislators Needs To Define
On Wednesday, a Michigan Court of Appeals judge requested legislators to simplify the state’s medical marijuana law by stating the “in artfully drafted” standard has occurred in confusion and arrests.
The honorable Judge Peter O’Connell, declared his request yesterday in a thirty page opinion pertaining to an Oakland County Case in which the court had upheld marijuana possession against two Madison Heights residents. Judge O’Connell stated the law is so confusing that those who use the marijuana “who proceed without due caution” face the possibility of losing their property and liberty.
This decision from the appeals court arrives as leaders of Metro Detroit attempt to define the law, which was designed to allow marijuana prescriptions for medical reasons. However, Judge O’Connell, disputed in his separate agreeing opinion that parts of the law disputes Public Health Codes which makes possession and manufacturing of the drug illegal.
Last month, clinics in Ferndale and Waterford township faced raids that had resulted in arrests and seizures of both marijuana and medical records. Just a week later, Lapeer County Sheriff’s deputies in Dryden had searched a medical marijuana dispensary seizing marijuana and money.
Berkley Mayor Marilyn Stephan, had stated that to her the dilemma is amplified by events of the past few weeks. The mayor is facing the expiration in November, a 180 day municipal moratorium on the medical marijuana law.
Mayor Stephan states the law has so many holes it has turned into an enforcement nightmare. The mayor states “The bottom line is: Are we going to legalize marijuana or not? If we can, then it has to be a controlled product,” *Quote Curtosey of Detroit News
Safe Haven For Medicating
Concerning the case of Madison Heights marijuana possession, Robert Lee Redden and Torey Alison Clark, had given authorities documents in which they stated had given them authorization to use medical marijuana. The manufacturing charges in 2009 from 21 plants growing in their home was dismissed by a district court judge.
The charges were reinstated by an Oakland County Circuit Judge and the Court of Appeals upheld that decision Wednesday.
Mr. Redden told the Detroit News he had qualified for medical marijuana because he endures chronic pain. All persons want is a safe place to get the medical marijuana.
Judge O’Connell had written he does affirm reinstatement of the charges against the Madison Heights men. However, he does advocate the rules need to be clarified for persons who wish to use marijuana along with physicians and clinics who dispense the drug. Jude O’Connell cautioned that if law makers do not act, there will be more arrests and prosecutions. He also noted that the State Supreme Court could also intervene.
Judge O’Connell states he has no apprehension that some voters minds in this state, legalization of marijuana would be good public policy. The rest who authorized this act were under the belief that the act’s main purpose was restricted to the use of medical marijuana by registered patients that had incapacitating medical issues.
Judge O’Connell noted he believes confusion over the protection of arrest and conviction has derived from how medical marijuana laws are written. He has advocated conflicting public health regulations or the law for medical marijuana requires revision so there is an agreement as to what is permitted.
Current concern is the loss of freedom or property endured by persons who truly believe they are following the medical marijuana law, they are at the mercy of prosecutors and law enforcement authorities who earnestly hold the belief the are correctly executing the clear provisions of the public health code according to Judge O’Connell.
Perceptions Of Law Differ
The districts who chose grace periods to examine the issue include the following: Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Township, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak and Southfield. The areas which are regulating by way of zoning ordinances or permits include Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Ferndale, Garden City, Huntington Woods, Livonia, Niles and Roseville all have enacted bans.
Officials in Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills had a meeting Tuesday to assess where locations of dispensaries should be placed.
The township of Bloomfield has plans for an October 4th, hearing on its suggested ordinance, which will allow patients to use the marijuana but will prohibit local dispensaries. According to township Supervisor David Payne, there is just not one origin for dispensing so it opens up too much of an area for problems.
Oakland County officials last month had issued a 63 page document as a guide for local authorities as they enforce regulations. L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive, had instructed a survey and analysis of local avenues to the law, which strongly passed by Michigan voters in 2008.
Judith Cunningham, counsel for County corporation had written in a memo that ambiguity in the law is confused by the fact that it still is a violation of federal law to distribute or sell marijuana.
Mayor Robert Hisen, of St. Clair Shores, states that research is required, His city had enacted a 180 day moratorium August 16th. The mayor has plans to use Oakland’s guide to form policy within his Macomb County city. The mayor has stated it appears that like each day he gathers more articles on this issue. It is too early for them to make a decision. However, the law was passed by Michigan residents and there is good use for it if it is controlled.
Law Enforcement Pressing the Issue
Michael Komorn, criminal defense attorney and board member of Michigan Medical Marijuana Association states there is lack of agreement in how many counties and cities view the law. There are those that oppose it and others who embrace it.
There is a need for acknowledgment by the courts, law enforcement and prosecutors that cannabis is a legitimate medication that provides aide to many persons for their medical conditions. According to 62.7 percent of voters have stated. Until that can happen there is a likelihood more raids will happen.
Board member with the medical marijuana dispensary, Big Daddy’s Compassionate Care Club in Hazel Park, Rick Thompson states that he and other business owners are concerned about the raids. Big Daddy’s had speculated at adding a second location in Ferndale, but withdrew the application over concerns in zoning. They are still seeking other locations in southeast Michigan.
The law enforcement of Oakland and Lapeer counties are pushing the issue in courts. This is at the expense of patients that were jailed and had their belongings taken and their lives uprooted.
Even though the fourteen states who have medical marijuana laws have seen legal challenges, there is yet to be any major court ruling that have changed those laws according to Mike Meno with Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C..
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in or around Detroit:
Ant Farm CC
Michigan Marijuana Certification Center
362 Hilton Road
Get It Green
2500 Contant Street