A legal battle is brewing in Muskogee over the new way a local city is trying to curb the sale of synthetic drugs.
In June, FOX23 reported an emergency public nuisance ordinance put in place in Muskogee. Now there’s a question about the legality of the ordinance.
Less than two weeks since the ordinance went into effect, an injunction against that ordinance was filed.
Biren Desai said he sells plenty of things, even incense and potpourri at the Sunshine Convenience Store and when the city served ordinances against the sale of the incense he listened.
“Since they have banned it we stopped selling it,” he said.
Desai pulled the inventory but didn’t understand why he had to do that. He and his lawyer filed a petition for injunction against the City of Muskogee.
FOX23 spoke to the attorney who filed the injunction who said it’s not about money, it’s about principle.
“We sell incense and they are by the state government and the federal government deemed ok, and we follow all applicable laws. They are not illegal with the federal government or the state government,” said Chad Richardson, the lawyer in the case.
The ordinance declares the use, possession, sale or display of all forms of synthetic cannabinoids and incense that harms public health or safety is deemed a public nuisance.
“The people using it become the lab rats. We want to protect the people from becoming the lab rats if they use these dangerous substances,” said Matthew Beese, the Assistant City Attorney, in an interview on June 5th.
Desai understands that city and law officials have a job to do.
“We are not here to fight with them, we are willing to work with them,” he said.
But he told FOX23 his business isn’t selling or doing anything wrong.
“There is abuse everywhere, but if it is legal, if you can legally sell it, why are we being punished?” he said.
Desai’s lawyer agrees, he outlined numerous reasons in the injunction.
“We haven't seen anything that supports that an ordinance like this is necessary because we haven't seen any empirical data or studies,” he said.
This will go before on a judge in Muskogee County district court on July 2nd.