Jun 172015
 

Fresno County acted improperly when it imposed a $99,000 fine on a medical cannabis grower, a judge has ruled.

Xiong Thao was cited for growing 99 cannabis plants in March 2014, the Fresno Bee reported, even though he had pulled up and removed the plants before the citation was issued by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Fresno County Superior Court Judge Dale Ikeda said that language in the ordinance allows 15 days for removal of the plants, so even Thao he had not removed the plants before deputies returned with a citation, the plants could have remained without a citation or fines imposed until after 15 days had passed.

Download (PDF, 302KB)

The fine was imposed by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, which also rejected Thao’s appeal while sitting as an appeal board. Ikeda’s ruling did not address whether the appeal hearing was conducted before a neutral arbiter, but focused on the narrow issue of notice. “[T]he Court concludes that Thao’s removal of the marijuana plants prior to the issuance of the Fifteen-Day Notice to Abate precludes the Board from imposing administrative fines or penalties on Thao,” Ikeda wrote in the preface to his 36-page ruling.

abc30 coverage

While the ruling does not set legal precedent, several other cannabis cultivation fine appeals are pending before the same judge. In February, the Board of Supervisors amended the ordinance to “clarify” that no notice was needed before removing plants or issuing fines, and the board affirmed more than $600,000 in fines at its Tuesday meeting.

Jun 112015
 

Water regulations aimed at cannabis farmers in the Emerald Triangle could soon find their way to the Central Valley. Cris Carrigan, director of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement, described the agency’s “Cannabis Cultivation Enforcement Initiative” at a January meeting of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in Santa Rosa. The Regional Water Board is set to adopt an expansive set of regulations in August as an outgrowth of a pilot program [read more …]

Jun 042015
 

The debate over cannabis legalization came to Fresno on Tuesday, the last stop in a series of “Blue Ribbon Commission” forums chaired by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. About 75 people showed up for Wednesday morning’s session at Fresno State’s North Gym, the Fresno Bee reported. “This is complicated, and good people can disagree,” said Newsom, who has been supportive of legalizing marijuana use. “I want you to know that most of the people involved in [read more …]

May 122015
 

More than $1 million in cannabis cultivation fines were on Tuesday’s agenda for the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, but the total was reduced to $159,000 after the board navigated through several split votes and failed motions. Tuesday’s special meeting was the seventh set of appeal hearings scheduled since the county’s growing ban took effect in early 2014. Citations are issued for violations to both Prop. 215 patient-growers and to property owners, although the board [read more …]

Apr 102015
 

Faced with opposition from Prop. 215 patients, the Fresno City Council voted down a cannabis cultivation ordinance to allow limited indoor growing. Thursday’s 4-3 vote represented an about-face from the March 26 hearing, where the council voted 5-2 to approve the ordinance. The measure would have allowed patients to grow up to four plants indoors after securing a “special permit” from the city. Under Fresno Ordinance 2014-20, all growing is prohibited. While Fresno Cannabis Association [read more …]

Mar 262015
 

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to permit the indoor-only cultivation of up to four medical cannabis plants, a slight change of course from the zero-tolerance ban it passed last year. UPDATE: Fresno City Council balks at cannabis ordinance The ordinance was brought forth by council President Oliver Baines III, who chaired a medical marijuana subcommittee that met with stakeholders last May. At that time, medical cannabis patients expressed serious reservations about the four-plant limit [read more …]