Waste Watchers: Does Senoia law REQUIRE people to have pot?

6:53 PM, Oct 7, 2013   |    comments
  • Donald Rehman challenging wording of Senoia's pot ordinance
  • Senoia marijuana ordinance
  • Downtown Senoia
  • Senoia City Hall
    
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SENOIA, GA - The small Coweta County city of Senoia may be known for its association with the popular "Walking Dead" TV show, but it's also becoming known for a rather strangely worded pot law.

"I read it probably five times because I couldn't believe what I was reading," Senoia resident Donald Rehman told 11 Alive on Monday.

The 81-year-old retired U.S. Army officer is referring to a misdemeanor ordinance that he believes could be interpreted to REQUIRE all male citizens to have more than an ounce of pot on them.

Senoia city code, Section 46-7 reads, "It shall be unlawful for any person to have in his possession less than one ounce of marijuana".

"It was inappropriate, constitutionally vague and I set about to do something about it," Rehman told 11 Alive.

Two years ago he wrote the city a humorous email suggesting they change the wording, which he said they dismissed.

He claims they could have done it in a matter of minutes at small expense.

Then last March he filed a Writ of Mandamus lawsuit when they refused to rewrite it.

A Superior Court judge threw out his suit in May, calling it frivolous and ordering him to pay Senoia $7,035.59 in legal fees.

But he appealed to the Georgia State Supreme Court, which agreed to hear his arguments on Tuesday.

Rehman also decided to run for mayor over his battle.

Representing himself, he said he'll accept the decision of the state's highest court, even if it means repaying the city thousands in legal fees.

"It's not over until the robust lady sings," he added.

Word about the legal wording battle has already spread through the small city of 3,000, where taxpayers are split over who to blame for the expense.

"I really believe that he's wasting our time and money," Tony Rossi told 11 Alive.

"We have bigger and better issues to worry about than this, some wording of a law," he added.

"I think it's pretty foolish by the City of Senoia to not tweak that law, 'cause obviously it says something that it shouldn't," said Brandon Feazell.

Mayor Robert Belisle refused to comment on the suit, referring us to City Attorney Drew Whalen.

Whalen replied to our email saying he would have no comment before Tuesday's State Supreme Court hearing.

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