Judge Patrick Pickerill of Oklahoma's 14th District Court granted emergency relief to the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the City of Broken Arrow. The hastily-passed ordinances designed to hinder some medical facilities from operating in the city cannot be implemented, while the matter is litigated in the courthouse.
The City of Broken Arrow recently passed a series of ordinances to financially straddle any effort to make cannabis medicines available within the city limits. But a district court judge suspects that the move violates state law. So yesterday he imposed an injunction on the city while the merits of the case and the law is reviewed.
Attorney Ron Durbin argued the case on behalf of a business in the city. After the ruling Durbin said the highest level of credibility was applied by the court, showing that on the face of it, the city looks to be clearly violating the Oklahoma statutes and doing harm to the citizens by imposing such high & targeted special restrictions. Some of the restrictions were made specifically singling out one type of legal medicine over all other legal medicines.
Durbin and other attorneys have made their case clear to many municipal governments, saying that only statutory language in SQ788 can be applied to zoning issues and patient privacy. House Majority Leader, Jon Echols, said on Wednesday;
Broken Arrow city councilors decided, without regard for the voters in the city who overwhelmingly passed the language in SQ788 last June; that a $2500 fee will be assessed for a business permit in order to operate a commercial medical cannabis establishment.
The council also imposed on the patients a requirement to present 'on demand' a written document showing that the owner of property has authorized the patient to possess cannabis plants on the premises.
The language of SQ788 specifically bars municipalities from imposing extra restrictions that would not otherwise apply to other similar commerce. Only a 1000 ft school zone moratorium is allowed by statute. So if a city has an ordinance limiting a retail drugstore, then cannabis dispensaries are also subject to that language. If greenhouse operations have obligations of zoning or business licensing, then Medical Marijuana Businesses must be treated in like manner.
But what is clearly emerging in Oklahoma is a narrative of 'city fathers' fearing the worst and seeking to thwart these drug policy reforms which they fear will "ruin their community".
Durbin is optimistic that Broken Arrow's appeal of the injunction will fail and that the case will ultimately prevail and set a court precedent in the state.
While this is playing out, The City of Tulsa and the Metropolitan Planning Commission are preparing to jeopardize Tulsa citizens to further financial damages if the courts rule for inevitable plaintiffs against Tulsa ordinances which await a vote of the council this coming week. The City of Tulsa is threatening to ban any grower or medication processing facility from opening for at least the next 3 months and potentially extending the moratorium even further.
The only hope these imposing cities has, is a parsing of words & splitting of hairs in the statutes. While the language stipulates literal protection for retail medical marijuana, Broken Arrow and Tulsa are dancing around the edges by singling out the growers and processors. The language further details predatory zoning restrictions as banned, but instead the city fathers are exacting predatory fees which cannot be justified by any narrative.
Arbitrary & Capricious
A broader constitutional set of protections forbid "arbitrary & capricious" actions which unfairly enact a bias. That standard appears completely and egregiously violated.
- These ordinances do not apply to other medical facilities.
- The city ordinances were introduced and passed in a quick and reactionary manner.
- The ordinances appear to carve around the edges of the clear statutory language and deliberately test the implied intent.
- The city has not provided a justification of eminent harm that these medical facilities will create, which exceed the opioid & meth which the drugstors & pharmaceutical processors don't currently present.
- depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law
- marked by or resulting from the unrestrained and often tyrannical exercise of power
- sudden, impulsive, and seemingly unmotivated notion or action
- a sudden usually unpredictable condition, change, or series of changes