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Senoia swats back at unusual lawsuit

Senoia city attorney Drew Whalen has filed a response to the March 15 lawsuit filed in Coweta County Superior Court by resident Don Rehman against the mayor and city council over a city ordinance that he maintains amounts to a requirement that all males within city limits be required to possess one ounce or more of marijuana. Whalen in the response said the city ordinance making possession of less than an ounce a misdemeanor is not in violation of state law and that Rehman is asking the court for an advisory opinion on what in his mind is a political issue or question.

Whalen in the response cited a number of reasons why Rehman’s suit was baseless. One of the areas addressed by Whalen was the constitutionality of the city ordinance.

“(Current Georgia law) is a general law granting jurisdiction to the municipal court of any municipal corporation to try and dispose of cases where the person is charged with the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana if the offense occurred within the corporate limits of such municipality,” said Whalen.

Whalen said Rehman, at best, is asking the court for an advisory opinion on what in his mind is a political issue or question.

“One cannot create the requisite controversy simply by filing a lawsuit. Even if the issue raised by (Rehman) were of academic interest, he would not be entitled to the relief requested,” Whalen said citing case law.

In other remarks in the response, Whalen said Rehman’s petition fails to conform to state law and, “is rambling, disjunctive and a political diatribe incapable of being answered by a specific response to individual (allegations) found in individually-numbered paragraphs.”

Rehman in his March 15 filing said at issue is city ordinance Section 46-7 that pertains to possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor violation under state law, Whalen said. Georgia law allows certain misdemeanors, such as possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, to be tried in city court. Possession of more than an ounce of marijuana is a felony in Georgia and is not tried in city courts, Whalen said.

Rehman contends that the wording of the ordinance essentially mandates that all males within the city limits must have in their possession one ounce or more of marijuana. Obeying the ordinance as written would make criminals out of law abiding citizens, the suit said.





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