Royal Oak ponders medical marijuana ban

ROYAL OAK, Mich. —A coalition of local and state medical marijuana advocacy groups are organizing a campaign to challenge an anticipated Royal Oak ordinance designed to ban all medical marijuana in the city, even by patients and caregivers otherwise acting legally under state law. The Royal Oak City Council appears ready to pass the ordinance at a formal meeting this evening, according to a press release by Southfield based attorney Michael Komorn.

If the ordinance banning medicinal marijuana in Royal Oak is passed, Michigan Medical Marijuana Act advocates will have 30 days to submit a petition requesting a referendum signed by at least 836 registered City of Royal Oak voters. If successful, the ordinance will be suspended until it is put to a vote on the next ballot.

“The City Council is overstepping its responsibility in seeking to ban all medical marijuana use,” said Royal Oak resident, Adam Brook, who is leading the planned referendum campaign. “They were asked to come up with reasonable regulations covering medical marijuana businesses, how to strike the correct balance between all of the stake holders. Instead, we are faced with a potential ban. This is not what Michigan citizens voted for.”

Southfield attorney, Michael Komorn has been advising the referendum committee on the process for challenging the ordinance. “It is actually a two step process,” he explained. “Organizers have 10 days to file a Notice of Referendum signed by 100 Royal Oak residents which immediately suspends the ordinance from going into effect for the duration of the 30 day campaign. Although the minimum requirement for signatures is 836 total, our target is 1,500 supporters.”

Only people registered to vote in the City of Royal Oak may sign the actual referendum petition. Canvassers, however, plan to circulate a second, shadow petition which any registered Michigan voter may sign. The shadow petition expresses opposition to any attempt to nullify the state medical marijuana law through local ordinance, regulation, rule or administrative interpretation.

Added Joe Cain, President of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, a state-wide advocacy group that is providing support to Royal Oak organizers: “This is a bald faced attempt by the City of Royal Oak to nullify state law by local ordinance. Proposal 1 passed by over 70% in Royal Oak but the city council thinks it should substitute their own judgment for that of the voters.” He went on to say, “We believe this is part of a coordinated effort by municipalities all over the state to undo the voter approved Michigan Medical Marijuana Act so it is appropriate that we mobilize our own state-wide resources to push back.”


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