By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A Canadian County district judge has been formally asked to throw out a lawsuit filed by a company that wants to start a marijuana growing business in Yukon city limits.
The City of Yukon, through its attorney John J. Love, filed a motion to dismiss on Oct. 21 in Canadian County District Court. The case is set for a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 18 before Canadian County District Judge Jack D. McCurdy.
4-Eyed Buds LLC, and its owners Tamara Crenshaw and Tracy Crenshaw, are seeking a declaratory judgment against the City of Yukon in a cause of action filed Sept. 17.
The plaintiffs own a 25-acre property at 2880 N Mustang Road and “intend to become a licensed commercial medical marijuana cultivation operation in the City of Yukon,” according to their suit.
A City of Yukon ordinance enacted in February 2019 disallows growing, processing and wholesale medical marijuana businesses.
“(T)he ordinance in question was a proper exercise of the City’s police powers and not in violation of Oklahoma law,” the City of Yukon’s attorney argues in the defendant’s motion to dismiss.
“The validity of city ordinances which ban commercial marijuana growing operations has been specifically affirmed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The validity of the ordinance of the City of Yukon which prohibits commercial marijuana growing operations has been specifically affirmed by this (Canadian County) Court.”
The City of Yukon, in February 2019, adopted ordinance 1385 with the specific stated intent to prohibit growing medical marijuana inside Yukon city limits. Ordinance 1385 also restricted where medical marijuana dispensaries could be inside Yukon city limits.
The ordinance was approved after State Question 788 passed in June 2018 by a 57% majority of Oklahoma voters, legalizing medical marijuana statewide.
“Commercial marijuana growing facilities are not allowed within the municipal boundaries of the City of Yukon,” according to ordinance 1385.
‘EXCEEDED LAWSUIT AUTHORITY’
4-Eyed Buds LLC and the Crenshaws – in their petition for declaratory judgment – assert the Yukon City Council’s actions to prohibit growing medical marijuana were “not consistent” with the Constitution or Oklahoma state statutes and exceeded their “lawful authority.”
The suit cites the SQ 788 ballot title: “A yes vote legalizes the licensed use, sale and growth of marijuana in Oklahoma for medicinal purposes.”
The Yukon City Council’s actions – after SQ 788 was adopted by a vote of the people – “was explicitly directed in an effort to deny licenses and the right to conduct legal activities authorized by statute,” the plaintiffs contend.
Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse in April 2019 upheld the validity of the City of Yukon’s ordinance prohibiting commercial marijuana growing, according to the motion to dismiss. In the case Bishop et al. v. City of Yukon, Judge Hesse ruled this prohibition was valid.
“The police powers possessed by cities were acknowledged in the text of SQ 788 and were expressly limited as to only the regulation of retail marijuana establishments and the amount of marijuana that a medical marijuana license holder can possess,” Hesse wrote in his order.
“No other limitations on these powers were expressed or exist. The decision to regulate or prohibit commercial marijuana growing and processing activities was left to the cities of the state. It is the City’s prerogative to ban these activities based on its police and statutory powers and its decision will not be interfered with by this Court.”
The Oklahoma Supreme Court in November 2019 held unequivocally that all cities in Oklahoma have the full authority to prohibit commercial marijuana growing operations within their city limits, according to the motion to dismiss.