Yukon questions pot ordinance lawsuit

A hearing to determine whether the city of Yukon can enforce an ordinance dealing with medical marijuana was delayed Tuesday because of a question related to whether the city was properly served with court documents.

Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse reset the hearing for a temporary injunction until Nov. 14 at 1:30 p.m.

The injunction is being sought by attorneys for Jason Wesley Hodge.

Hodge sued the city earlier this month, claiming that the city of Yukon’s ordinance that regulates medical marijuana oversteps the regulations established by state law.

Tuesday’s hearing was to determined if Yukon can enforce its ordinance before a trial is held.

Yukon’s city attorney Gary E. Miller argued that the city was not properly notified of the hearing.

Miller claimed that the process server was  delivered the paper work to the wrong person.

State law requires that it be delivered to the city clerk, assistant city clerk or the mayor. Miller claimed it was delivered to the city’s treasurer.

Miller claimed that by delivering it to the treasurer, the city was not properly notified.

Hodge’s attorneys Collin Rockett and Rachel Bussett argued that their paperwork showed that City Clerk Douglas Shiver was served on Oct. 23.

The process server, however, was not available to confirm that information.

The two attorneys also said that even if Shiver wasn’t served, the city had ample notice of the hearing because its officials were provided with copies of the motion on Oct. 11.

During the hearing, which lasted about 15 minutes, Hesse questioned whether Hodge had the authority to challenge the entire ordinance, which not only sets regulations for individuals with medical marijuana permits, but also for companies that want to operate in Yukon.

Hodge only holds a permit for personal use.

Bussett said she expect to add someone who is looking to open a dispensary location to the lawsuit by the end of the week to deal with Hesse’s concerns.

The city ordinance, which went into effect Sept. 18, requires anyone who receives a medical marijuana permit to register with the city and to pay a fee.

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 law also limits where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located.

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

To date, no one has applied for a medical marijuana dispensary license in Yukon.

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