City recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month, addresses changes to ordinances concerning medical marijuana

Mayor Sheryl Ellis began Monday night’s board of commissioners meeting by declaring October to be “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” in the city of Ardmore and presented Ari James, chairman of the Carter County Domestic Violence Task Force, with a presentation of proclamation.

“Domestic violence does not know race, gender or nationality,” James said. “It affects everybody, not only the victim. It also affects their children, our workplaces and our schools. It is very important to us that not only are those victims served, but also those who work with those victims. We want to ensure that everyone is aware of the services we have available.”

After the presentation, two of the first items addressed dealt with amendments to city ordinances concerning medical marijuana. Both these amendments were approved.

The first amendment approved changed the city code pertaining to possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia for municipal courts

“Since 788 changed the game for marijuana, it’s now an affirmative offense,” said Ardmore Director of Development Services Jessica Scott. This means it is illegal to possess marijuana unless one has the proper documentation and does not have more marijuana than permitted by law.

“The only change in the ordinance is to put in the unless clause,” Scott said. “It was written by our city attorney David Davis and the amendment keeps us legal with 788.”

The next amendment approved changed two items in the city’s medical marijuana ordinance. The first part changed the definition of school in the ordinance. The updated language now defines a school as public or private schools K-12 and no longer include daycares or adult schools.

The second part of the medical marijuana ordinance amendment changes the fire suppression requirements for grow facilities. There is now no fire suppression system required for grow facilities under 5,000 square feet, and the fire suppression requirement can be waived in buildings between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet if the facility is made of noncombustible material.

“After we got with the city fire marshal and some of the local growers, we decided to make a few changes because of the types of buildings that they are using and the availability of water,” Scott said. “A lot of our industrial areas don’t have adequate water for fire suppression, so they were looking at over $100,000 just to get the water to them.” 

The city does, however, want these businesses to remain safe.

“That’s where the under 5,000 square feet and noncombustible material come in to play,” Scott said. She went on to say that the danger is lessened because these buildings are open to employees only and that the fire department is working on how they plan to fight potential fires in grow facilities.