Court upholds Anoka’s drug paraphernalia ordinance

Managing Editor
Mandy has been with ABC Newspapers since 2007, when she joined the staff as the editor of the Anoka County Union. She has been the managing editor of the UnionHerald and Blaine Spring Lake Park Life since 2014.

An Anoka County District Court judge ruled in favor of the city of Anoka in a challenge against the city’s drug paraphernalia ordinance.

In August 2016 Anoka adopted rules outlawing the sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

This affected several local businesses that sold items like pipes, bongs and more, including RedruM. Green Monkey Corporation, which owns and operates the smoke shop located at the corner of Second Avenue and Jackson Street, challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance in Anoka County District Court.

RedruM’s attorney argued for a petition for injunctive relief, stating that the ordinance not only violated the state’s constitution, but also was a legal taking.

Judge Tammi Fredrickson issued a thorough opinion on the challenge last month.

Fredrickson ruled that while the ordinance does deprive the plaintiff’s economic beneficial use of their property, the ordinance does not constitute a regulatory taking.

“This is because the ordinance is a valid use of the city of Anoka’s police power,” Fredrickson wrote. “The city of Anoka has a valid interest in protecting the people of Anoka from illicit drugs and has the power to do so by banning drug paraphernalia.”

City Attorney Scott Baumgartner had modeled Anoka’s ordinance after rules adopted by other cities.

In 2013 Moorhead’s drug paraphernalia ordinance was challenged in federal court and upheld.

“I did a lot of that legwork before I presented the ordinance to the City Council,” Baumgartner said.

He focused on presenting an ordinance that would hold up in court, if challenged.

Anoka’s ordinance is based on the Model Drug Paraphernalia Act, which as been upheld against every constitutional challenge, according to Fredrickson.

“The court cannot find that plaintiffs have advanced any meritorious argument that would meet their heavy burden in establishing that the ordinance is unconstitutional,” according to Fredrickson’s order.

The plaintiffs have until June to appeal the decision.

According to Anoka Police Chief Eric Peterson, the businesses (including RedruM) that were selling items prohibited by the drug paraphernalia ordinance are now in compliance.

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