In Sterling Heights, Michigan, the popular sky lanterns were banned amid fears that they were a fire hazard. The lanterns are similar to small hot air balloons. They work when a candle inside is lit on fire, heating the air and allowing them to fly away. They are uncontrolled, though, and can land anywhere. The candles also sometimes catch the lanterns on fire when they’re not used properly.
However, a fireworks company is arguing that they should be able to sell the sky lanterns, and they’re now suing the city. The company is Black Diamond Fireworks, and it appears to have about 10 different locations across the state.
The company claims the issue is with the difference between state law and local ordinances. The state law allows sky lanterns, and they’re often seen in the skies over Michigan. The city ordinance is more restrictive, and the company is arguing that that means it’s preempted by the state laws — which would mean they can still legally sell the lanterns.
The company doesn’t seem to care as much about the use of the lanterns as they care about their ability to sell them. Under state law, they can be sold at any time. They can be used on a holiday — with the most obvious example being the Fourth of July — and on the day after or the day before said holiday.
The lawsuit also seems to stem from the fact that the company did not remove the lanterns in time and was ticketed by the city. When businesses are facing these types of pressures and conflicting laws and ordinances, it can be wise for them to look into their legal options to see how the laws should be enforced.
Source: The Source, “Fireworks company sues Sterling Heights over sky lanterns ban,” Jameson Cook, July 05, 2016