ROYAL OAK – Another resident is suing the city because of its new zoning ordinance that allows patients to use but not grow medical marijuana.
Christopher Frizzo, 47, a qualifying patient who has multiple sclerosis, filed a lawsuit Monday in Oakland County Circuit Court. He isn’t seeking monetary damages.
“He wants Royal Oak to repeal its ordinance that limits medical marijuana from being grown or cultivated and if they won’t do it he wants the judge to declare the Royal Oak ordinance unenforceable and void,” said Neil Rockind, one of Frizzo’s attorneys.
Rockind, who is representing Frizzo pro bono, served the city with the lawsuit in person. He was following up on a threat to sue made during public comment of the Jan. 24 City Commission meeting.
“I think the way some politicians and localities are approaching medical marijuana is hurting patients when it’s their job to protect people like Christopher Frizzo,” Rockind said. ”I marched down to City Hall with the lawsuit in my hand and told the city clerk you’ll be getting to know me.”
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act passed by state voters in November 2008 allows qualifying patients to grow to up to 12 medical marijuana plants or have a caregiver do it for them if both are registered with the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Frizzo’s lawsuit says he has no caregiver and grows his own medicine because he has limited mobility and financial means.
In a phone interview, Frizzo said medical marijuana reduces the severity of his muscle spasms and nausea while increasing his appetite.
“In minutes, the nausea and sick feeling goes away. It likes a miracle,” Frizzo said.
He also said he was reluctant to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit because he didn’t want to divulge that he was growing his own medical marijuana and risk being targeted by police or criminals.
“I do feel endangered now,” Frizzo said. “The city created an ordinance and a situation that puts me at risk but I’m going forward with this case to help patients. The city shouldn’t be doing this to people.”
City Attorney David Gillam said he knew the ordinance that commissioners passed 4-3 would lead to lawsuits based on public comments at the meeting.
“I’m not surprised,” Gillam said. “We’ll file our answer with affirmative defenses. I expect the city and Mr. Rockind will file briefs, appear for a hearing and the judge will make a ruling. I don’t expect a trial.”
Adam Leslie Brook, 42, of Royal Oak filed a lawsuit Thursday, alleging he will have to make costly and unnecessary efforts to obtain medical marijuana if he can’t grow his own. Brook’s lawsuit seeks an injunction to permanently prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance against him, damages, costs and attorney fees.
That lawsuit also sought a temporary restraining order prohibiting the city from enforcing the ordinance against Brook. However, Gillam said it was denied.
“The court reviewed documents and decided in this case there was no irreparable harm,” Gillam said.
A hearing on the injunction is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 16 before Oakland Circuit Judge Rudy Nichols