City of Broken Arrow win first step in limiting medical marijuana

Broken Arrow, OK

Despite state laws legalizing medical marijuana, some authorities in some jurisdictions are not happy. Some have created their own restrictive ordinances to get in the way of the sale of medical marijuana in their cities. Broken Arrow is just one of those cities and is currently celebrating the success of a lawsuit challenging their restrictions.

Authorities Broken Arrow were challenged by Austin Miller, owner of Cloudi Mornings LLC. He pursued a lawsuit at Tulsa County District Court after Broken Arrow City Council adopted ordinances that stopped Miller from opening a medical marijuana dispensary in a spot he wanted in the city.

On appeal

Initially, Pawnee County Associate District Judge Patrick Pickerill issued a declaratory judgment in October 2018 in Miller’s favor. He said that cities did not have the power to enforce such regulations and the ordinance was not legal. An appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court resulted in a win for Broken Arrow.

Oklahoma Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 1030 meant Miller’s arguments were “essentially nullified.”

“Here, without any indication that (the) city’s ordinances have exceeded what the Legislature authorized by (SQ 788) and its subsequent amendments, there is nothing to decide,” the Supreme Court said last Tuesday.

At the time of the initial court case in Tulsa, Senate Bill 1030 had not been passed. This meant the initial finding was correct. Since that time, the bill was passed, essentially granting municipalities the power to create ordinances around the medical cannabis industry. This is why the city won on appeal.

The ordinance passed by Broken Arrow limits the places where medical cannabis can be grown. Growers and processors can open premises in areas of the city zoned industrial light or industrial heavy. All growing must happen inside a building and not in the fresh air. It does not ban the growing, processing or selling of medical marijuana, but restricts it to certain zones.

The initial lawsuit was brought because Miller said the ordinance would cost him money having to find a new premises.

Not the end of the story

While Broken Arrow is taking the win, Miller and lawyer Ron Durbin don’t plan to give up the fight. They said the ordinance goes too far and as it can be applied retrospectively, it could potentially cause financial harm to existing businesses who were legally compliant prior to the passing of Senate Bill 1030.

Durbin said after the defeat, “They’ve given me more ammunition to go fight them. If Broken Arrow thinks I am going away, they are sorely mistaken.”