Moore won't enforce marijuana ordinances following Broken Arrow case
MOORE — The city of Moore will abandon its ordinances to regulate medical marijuana before anyone has even bought a permit or paid a fine.
Moore passed zoning rules restricting where some types of marijuana businesses could open, limiting operating hours for dispensaries and requiring business owners to buy a permit, City Attorney Randy Brink said Friday.
The rules never took effect because of a court ruling against similar ordinances in Broken Arrow, Brink said. In that case, the judge determined the restrictions Broken Arrow imposed were forbidden under the terms of State Question 788.
“I think any other judge would follow the ruling,” Brink said. “The only enforcement that I can determine and see as valid (under SQ 788) is prohibiting dispensaries within 1,000 feet of an educational institution.”
Ron Durbin, a Tulsa attorney representing several aspiring medical marijuana business owners in Moore, said he appreciates that the city isn't enforcing the ordinances, but wants to see them repealed.
“They could change their mind at any time, and my clients would be knowingly violating the ordinances on the books,” he said.
At least four lawsuits about medical marijuana regulation are still ongoing. Three are directed at state agencies, and one targets ordinances in Weatherford.
Brink said he thinks cities should have some control over the development of the new marijuana industry, but it might require state action to allow them the power to regulate medical marijuana businesses.
“I think cities have, or should have, the ability to regulate fairly,” he said.
Durbin disagreed that cities don't have any power to regulate marijuana businesses. They've just gone about it in prohibited ways, he said.
For example, cities could place dispensaries in the same zoning category as pharmacies, Durbin said, and treat processors and growers the same as “like types” of businesses. They also can use existing nuisance ordinances to manage issues like noise and odor, he said.
“There are reasonable regulations that cities would be able to enforce under 788,” he said.