On Monday the Shawnee board of City Commissioners repealed some local rules that were previously enacted regarding the recent passage of medical marijuana in the state.

On Monday the Shawnee board of City Commissioners repealed some local rules that were previously enacted regarding the recent passage of medical marijuana in the state.

Repealed items include the removal of the registry requirement of owners of marijuana-growing facilities for personal use — as well as removal of the fee to register; owners of marijuana-growing facilities for personal use will no longer be subject to security provisions; and growing marijuana for personal use without first obtaining a license from the state will no longer be punishable by a $200 daily fine while in violation.

The board approved the rules in September to establish local rules very similar to the state's in response to the recently passed medical marijuana law.

The decision to strike the previously adopted local regulations apparently was because such rulings have been a cause for problems among municipalities across the state.

Shawnee City Commissioner James Harrod said he believed the courts had determined that cities don't have the authority to make such rules.

Even before the rules were passed locally in the Fall, there was considerable outcry from area residents as commissioners tackled the issue.

Before September's vote

During regular commission meetings, several area residents took the opportunity to share their views about the city's proposed rules.

Norma Sapp encouraged commissioners to consider the costs for ill patients.

“Think about them, please. They have had an expense of going to the doctor and paying the health department to get their card,” she said. “Nobody has asked them to register with their city because they were on pain medication.”

She said the hope is that cannabis can help those patients get off some of those opiates that are dangerous.

Also, she said when a home is registered, and someone goes to a house to inspect it, people are going to talk.

“It's going to put them in danger and they're going to get robbed,” she said.

Local business owner James McLeod said he has already invested thousands of dollars toward a business that would be affected by the proposed rules. He said the proposed new zoning forces him into a standstill due to a 1,000-foot distance requirement.

“If you would consider that, I would sure appreciate it,” he said.

Retired nurse Pamela Street, of Shawnee, said patients should be able to heal on their own terms.

She said, “I want to help all patients of this county and town with my knowledge about the body and the endocannabinoid system — the ability to grow and be empowered with true nutrients from our soil.”

She said she needs her natural form of medicine.

“We can't have anybody else in our homes or our healing options,” she said. “The state of Oklahoma has told me I'm a medical patient (as a card holder) and I have the right treat myself in my home.”

Resident Shawn Cook said, “if you have a problem with medicinal cannabis, you need to educate yourself.”

There are major studies and scientific evidence all over the place that show its medicinal qualities.

“We need to be able to home-grow so we can afford to do this,” he said. “It's the most affordable way; a lot of medications are expensive.”

Though now an Asher resident, Ron Loftis grew up in Shawnee. He said the city needs to figure out a way to allow people to grow medical marijuana outdoors to save on the expense of special lighting, etc.

“People living from paycheck to paycheck can't afford it,” he said.

The process in September

Shawnee City Attorney Joe Vorndran and then-Community Development Director Justin DeBruin worked on the language for the local ordinance, based on the state health department's established emergency rules in the Fall.

In the proposed rules DeBruin said he compared state rules to local zoning codes, choosing several areas he deemed appropriate for facilities based on how they fit within current standards.

Commissioners chose to strike a particular commercial zoning requirement from the proposal.

Mayor Richard Finley moved to adopt the ordinance striking Section 8-515, 8-B, which was a locally added rule (above and beyond what state rules required) stating a permit would not be granted to any applicants where the proposed location would be located within 1,000 feet of any juvenile or adult halfway house, correctional facility or substance abuse rehabilitation or treatment center.

“I don't know that it should be our job to determine where these businesses are located, outside of the parameters of state law,” Finley said.

Specifically for license-holders, DeBruin said growing would be restricted to the indoors.

“This would require licensing through the city and some of the restrictions put in place here — really access to these facilities — being houses — must be under lock-and-key when the resident is outside or away from the house,” he said.

They must comply with the established building and fire codes, with the inclusion of limiting the lighting; it must be less than 1,000 watts, he said.

“This goes back to our basic nuisance standards for the city,” DeBruin said, “making sure that neighboring properties and businesses aren't affected by any of these particular uses.”

Also, the city approved a resolution, establishing a fee for the permitting of a medical marijuana establishment ($100), or the registration of a marijuana growing facility ($25) for personal medical use.

Watch for updates as the state and local municipalities continue to navigate through the issue.