When is a school a school? That is the question the Town of Luther is asking a judge to answer when it comes to whether the Luther Public Schools’ agriculture and bus barn is a school. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has issued a license to Rock N Vapes (Deep Fork Dispensary) even though the location at 428 N Dogwood is within 1000 feet of the barn which is part of school district property. State law prohibits a marijuana operation 1000 feet from a “school.”
But when is a school a school? If it’s a public school, is a school a school when it’s on school (tax payer funded) property? Do students have to meet there all day? Or just sometimes. The Town of Luther and the school district say their barn is a “school.” Obviously, the folks who want to have a dispensary in a building they already occupy think otherwise.
Interestingly, the language that voters supported to bring medical marijuana to the state stipulates the 1,000 foot rule separating a school from a dispensary. In Luther, with a tight town perimeter and multiple school buildings, there is hardly a place in a commercial district that is not 1000 feet from a school.
“Regarding the dispensary, we have directed the Town’s Attorney to file a declaratory judgment action in District Court regarding the school facility. We will pass a Resolution at a future meeting outlining the details,” said Mayor Jenni White, through the new Town Attorney, Beth Anne Childs.
Birlene Langley and Jeremy Ring are owners of the dispensary and were at the meeting where the Town Board voted to seek the Declaratory Judgement from a judge.
“We’re happy about it,” said Langley, a former Town Trustee. She also said they expect to be pleased with the outcome.
Meanwhile the Town has not officially responded, according to OSCN, to the lawsuit filed by JAB Corp., in response to the Town’s zoning denial of its state approved growers license. JAB is located on an annexed portion of Town limits north of Luther.
Through the Town’s attorney, Mayor White said none of the Trustees can discuss what happens in Executive Session when the board met on April 15 to discuss the lawsuit. “However, in Open Meeting, the Board voted to have the Town’s attorneys negotiate for resolution of the pending litigation. Attorney Margaret McMorrow-Love has been retained by the Town to handle the litigation. Ms. Childs, the Town’s Attorney, will assist her as necessary. As you know, state law continues to change and the Town is committed to operating within the bounds of state statutes.”
Among other things, JAB alleges the Town of Luther Board of Trustees erred in its denial of JAB Corp’s zoning variance because it did not have a planning commission or Board of Adjustment in place at the time, in violation of state law. The Town has since reinstated its planning commission and Board of Adjustment. JAB also alleges the Town’s Medical Marijuana ordinance is unenforceable because it is arbitrary and unreasonable. JAB also state’s that this delay is costing them business relationships in the state’s new medical marijuana industry.
JAB filed the lawsuit against the Town of Luther in February. Today, OMMA reported it had granted almost 5,000 business applications to serve 106,309 patients who have been granted a medical marijuana card.