Court sides with township’s marijuana law

Medical marijuana users in Bloomfield Township will have to register with the township, under a ruling handed down by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris. The township had been sued by Richard Roe, claiming that the township’s ordinance requiring that medical marijuana suppliers and users register with the township is invalid under the state’s medical marijuana law. In siding with the township, Morris ruled in a summary disposition, “This court declines the request for declaratory relief.” It concluded the suit was not valid because the plaintiff had not actually been penalized by the township’s law. “In this instance, plaintiff’s argument concerning the impact of the subject ordinance upon him is hypothetical …” “No one has been prosecuted,” said William Hampton, the township’s attorney. Police Capt. Steve Cook said only a few persons have registered with the police. The township put the registration requirement in the ordinance in the interests of public safety. If police are called on a report of someone selling marijuana and don’t know that the person is licensed and registered with the township, they could assume the person is a criminal and act accordingly.

“It has a potential for violence,” Hampton said. The court’s ruling, however, doesn’t address whether the township’s ordinance is superseded by state law and if that in turn is superseded by federal law. Under federal law, sale and possession of marijuana is illegal, but the federal government has said it is not enforcing that law, leaving state laws allowing sale and use in place. It is not clear yet if the ruling will be appealed. However, it virtually invites further court consideration. “While this court declines to issue a declaratory ruling under the facts presented in this case, it does recognize the need for appellate judicial guidance as to the application of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and its relationship to federal laws that criminalise the possession of marijuana,” it states. The ruling is the latest in a series of court decisions challenging local medical marijuana laws. Last December, Circuit Court Judge Colleen O’Brien tossed out a lawsuit filed by two persons challenging the medical marijuana laws of Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills. That decision included virtually the same language used by Morris is her ruling. “An actual controversy does not exist where the injury sought to be prevented is hypothetical,” O’Brien wrote. Michigan voters approved the medical marijuana law in 2008. Since then it has been frequently criticized as being vague and confusing. “This is uncharted territory,” Cook said.

via : Observer and Eccentric

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