Broken Arrow pot ruling could impact Yukon lawsuit

An attorney for a Yukon man who is challenging the validity of a city ordinance that regulates medical marijuana in the city says he believes a judge’s ruling last week in Tulsa County bolsters his client’s case.

Collin Rockett, who is one of several attorneys representing Jason Wesley Hodge, said Tulsa Conty Judge Patrick Pickerill’s actions in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Cloudi Mornings LLC and Austin Miller could benefit his client’s case.

Cloudi Mornings and Miller sued the city of Broken Arrow, seeking an injunction to keep Broken Arrow’s ordinances related to fees and other regulations from going into effect.

Pickerill ruled last Wednesday that Broken Arrow had been precluded from adopting regulations, zoning overlays, fees or other restrictions as to the medical marijuana business activities authorized by State Question 788.

Rockett said the lawsuit against Yukon is similar and believes Pickerill’s ruling sets a precedent.

“It would be a persuasive authority in terms of law that could be citied or rulings in other courts that carry weight in terms of the same issues,” he said.

Rockett is seeking an injunction that would keep Yukon’s ordinance from going into effect.

“This does boost our cause,” Rockett said.

The Yukon lawsuit is one of five that have been filed across the state that challenge the authority of cities to establish guidelines that are more stringent than state law allows. The Broken Arrow case is the only one that has gone before the courts.

A hearing related to the Yukon case is set for Oct. 30 before District Judge Paul Hesse.

“It is a brand new area of law. We are getting to see this as it is being shaped,” he said.

Rockett said he expects at least one of the cases to end up before the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Yukon City Attorney Gary E. Miller, who is a retired district judge, said he agrees.

“The Supreme Court will be the ultimate decider,” Miller said, adding that he isn’t sure how Hesse will rule.

Hodge is challenging Yukon’s law, which limits where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located. He also is challenging fees that the city has set related to those with medical marijuana permits.

The city council approved Yukon’s ordinances during a meet ing Sept. 18.

The city ordinance, which went into effect on the same day it was approved, says that persons who have medical marijuana permits must register with the city.

In addition, it requires that the property be available for inspection and that all marijuana plants be grown inside with proper ventilation and lighting.

The lawsuit said those requirements overstep the law that was approved by voters in June that legalized medical marijuana.

“The requirements and provisions set forth in the ordinance relating to medicinal marijuana patient licensees serves no purpose other than to deter those living within the city of Yukon from exercising their rights and privileges under SQ 788,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also claims that the ordinance makes growing and consuming medical marijuana a public nuisance issue.

The lawsuit also challenges the city’s right to determine where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located.

The ordinance forbids dispensaries from being located within 1,000 feet of schools, as set by state law. However, it also limits their location within 300 feet of several other areas, including libraries or museums, playgrounds, child care centers, churches, public parks, pools or recreational facilities, juvenile or adult halfway houses, correctional facilities or substance abuse treatment center.

It also cannot be within 300 feet of any other dispensary.

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