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Dismissal of Senoia marijuana suit upheld by Supreme Court

Senoia resident Don Rehman had his day in the Ga. Supreme Court to contest a ruling earlier this year by Coweta County Superior Court Judge Dennis Blackmon that dismissed Rehman’s contention that a Senoia city ordinance dealing with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. But the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court issued Nov. 4 upheld Judge Blackmon’s decision.

Rehman in the March 15 court filing in Coweta County Superior Court said the city ordinance dealing with misdemeanor amounts of marijuana, in quantities less than one ounce, essentially mandates that males are required to be in possession of more than an ounce of marijuana to be considered law abiding citizens. Possession of less than an ounce is handled through the local court as a misdemeanor while possession of more than an ounce is a felony under state law.

Rehman contended that obeying the ordinance as written would make criminals out of law abiding citizens, the suit said.

The Supreme Court in the Nov. 4 opinion determined that Rehman incorrectly served the lawsuit paperwork to the mayor and council by leaving copies for them at city hall.

Beyond that, and perhaps more telling in the decision, the Supreme Court said, “Even if the service had been perfected, it cannot be said the (Coweta County) trial court erred in dismissing the petition because plaintiff, who has never been charged or even threatened with violating the ordinance, does not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the ordinance.”

The Supreme Court also maintained that Blackmon did not err in requiring that Rehman pay the defendants attorney fees and litigation expenses.

As for the defendants’ motion to impose a penalty on Rehman for filing a frivolous appeal, the Supreme Court denied that motion.

Rehman requested placement on the Supreme Court docket after Judge Blackmon dismissed his lawsuit last summer.

Judge Blackmon in his full dismissal of the lawsuit was adamant in his disagreement with Rehman’s position.

“Are you telling me that I am here and you’ve got me here, and you’ve got all these people here to explain to you what the Senoia ordinance means when it says you can’t possess less than an ounce of marijuana? Are you seriously telling me that that’s why I am here listening to this case?” Blackmon asked.

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