The City of Troy is being sued after enacting a new ordinance regulating the number of people allowed to grow medical marijuana.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Oakland County Circuit Court by Royal Oak-based Cannabis Legal Group on behalf of several medical marijuana caregivers and one property owner in Troy. It was prompted by Troy’s new regulation – approved unanimously by the city council April 23 – requiring the 78 medical marijuana caregivers who grow cannabis under a special permit to obtain a city license to do so. The city’s stated goal is to license just 36 grow operations per year, though it’s recognized that might not happen right away due to the number of caregivers operating under special permit.
Registered medical marijuana patients who grow cannabis only for themselves to consume in their own homes aren’t required to obtain the license, provided they are in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
But according to Barton Morris, Cannabis Legal Group’s founder, there are several legal issues with Troy’s new regulation.
“I think the ordinance itself is in violation of state law,” Morris said. “Michigan’s MMA allows caregivers to grow anywhere they want. Troy only wants 36 growers? There’s no legal basis for that – you can’t limit the number of caregivers. That makes me laugh.”
The lawsuit further states that the ordinance is invalid because it was enacted without first submitting it to the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and holding a public hearing, as required by the state’s Zoning Enabling Act. In addition, the ordinance unlawfully adds additional restrictions to the MMMA which prohibits medical marijuana only on school buses, on school grounds and in correctional facilities.
Morris also said the ordinance calls for inspections of the licensed grow operations with just a 15-minute notice, which he said violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Required background checks of applicants and disclosure of storage facilities are other problems with the ordinance, Morris said. “That’s very far over-reaching, very intrusive,” he said.
The ordinance, effective May 6, gives 30 days for license applications to be submitted. An emergency motion has been filed to invalidate the ordinance while it’s being litigated.
Funding Cannabis Legal Group’s costs for the lawsuit is the Michigan Marijuana Business Collective of Troy, whose members are affected by the new ordinance. The association also plans to launch charter amendment initiative to force Troy to adopt an ordinance addressing a municipal permit to obtain a marijuana facilities license. Troy has officially opted out of allowing marijuana facilities, as permitted by the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act of 2016.
Troy’s acting city manager Mark Miller declined comment on the lawsuit Wednesday, referring The Oakland Press to the city’s legal counsel. City attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm was unavailable, and assistant city attorney Allan Motzny said he hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit.