Two local attorneys are suing Bloomfield Township, alleging that its medical marijuana ordinances conflict with state law.
According to the lawsuit filed by attorneys Neil Rockind and Thomas Loeb, one township ordinance requires that qualifying patients register with police and provide information such as their name, home address, driver’s license number and date of birth. Another ordinance prohibits the cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana by any registered patient or caregiver.
Failure to register with the Bloomfield Township Police Department could result in up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, according to the lawsuit.
It is alleged that the ordinances, which were passed in October, are in conflict with the state’s Medical Marihuana Act.
The lawsuit was filed in Oakland County Circuit Court and has been assigned to Judge Denise Langford Morris.
“Bloomfield Township has attempted to pierce and undo what the people of the state of Michigan have done,” Rockind said at his Southfield office Wednesday afternoon.
“What people do in the privacy of their own homes is sacred. It’s protected. (For the) township to make me or anybody else tell them or anybody else what I am doing in my home is offensive to its core.”
“We believe this absolutely violates a person’s right to privacy,” Loeb said, adding that it may even violate one’s state constitutional right to remain silent since medical marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.
The lawsuit is declaratory in nature, meaning the plaintiffs (listed anonymously as John Doe and Richard Roe) are not seeking any financial settlement.
“We don’t wish anybody to pay damages or compensation,” Rockind said. “We would just like a judge in this county to compare what Bloomfield Township has done with what the public has proved is the law. Bloomfield Township and other communities need to stop interfering with patients who are attempting to follow Michigan’s medical marijuana law.”
Both lawyers took offense to a provision in the township’s ordinances which states that no more than two medical marijuana patients can live in the same home.
“Many of these diseases are hereditary,” Loeb said. “It’s not at all unusual from a medical standpoint for a family to have more than one person suffer from the same illness.”
Rockind took it a step further.
“Let’s say three people are living in a home and are all cancer sufferers,” he said. “They all decided they would live together because they met in chemotherapy or therapy or treatment. They all happen to use marijuana. None of them are growing. This ordinance gets passed. One of them is supposed to move out? Do you draw straws? It’s insulting, and the bottom line is we’re going to do something about it.”
Bloomfield Township Supervisor David Payne said he’s seen the lawsuit and it has been referred to the township’s attorney.
“When we developed the ordinance, we were very careful to consult with legal counsel, and we believed we developed an ordinance that’s consistent with laws,” Payne said.
The township has 21 days to answer the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday.