Sep 302013

With prompting from Sheriff Margaret Mims, Fresno County supervisors are poised to approve a major rewrite of the Fresno County cannabis law. If approved as expected Oct. 8, qualified patients would be able to grow up to 12 immature or mature cannabis plants per parcel. That’s a big change from the current ordinance, which bans all outdoor cultivation and places strict limits on indoor cultivation.

Oct. 8 update: The draft ordinance was pulled from the consent agenda and tabled after additional public comment and board discussion. County counsel was instructed to draft a new ordinance after receiving additional input from board members. No instruction was given to solicit input from cannabis growers, property owners or other stakeholders. Meeting audio.

Another new addition is a public nuisance ordinance, which has more enforcement weapons than the county’s administrative enforcement process. Violations can be charged as a misdemeanor, steep fines can be imposed on a daily basis, and there are provisions for sheriff’s deputies to obtain property inspection warrants and/or rip plants on the fly when conditions merit through a process called summary abatement.

The draft ordinance, which passed its first reading on Sept. 24, also continues the county’s current ban on consuming medical cannabis anywhere except the patient’s own home.

Audio of Sept. 24 board meeting:
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The next board meeting is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 8 on the third floor of the Fresno County Hall of Records, 2281 Tulare St. in downtown Fresno. The second reading of the revised Fresno County cannabis law will be followed by a vote for final approval. Written comments may be submitted to the clerk to the board.

Audio of Oct. 8 board meeting:
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The Fresno County Planning Commission was set to hear a companion ordinance on Thursday that would remove medical cannabis dispensaries as permitted uses in the Fresno County Zoning Code. According to the staff report, the proposed ordinance is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act. Update: The companion ordinance was pulled from the Planning Commission agenda.

Fresno County Cannabis Ordinance — Draft

  2 Responses to “Big changes ahead for Fresno County cannabis law”

  1. That’s awesome that the board is finally protecting its residents! The majority of growing is drug cartel and I am surrounded by them! the crime, pollution, threats, it’s become third world in the foothills and they are hiding behind this legal marijuana b.s.!

    • The term “drug cartel” gets bandied about a lot, but there’s not always much proof behind the rhetoric. The L.A. Times explored the disconnect here:,0,3725294.story Check out this quote:

      Tommy Lanier, director of the National Marijuana Initiative, part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said there was scant evidence that the cartels exerted much control over marijuana growing in the national forests.

      “Based on our intelligence, which includes thousands of cellphone numbers and wiretaps, we haven’t been able to connect anyone to a major cartel,” he said.

      That doesn’t mean criminals aren’t connected to many large-scale cultivation sites, nor does it mean that all large-scale cultivation sites are operated by criminals. Believe it or not, and like it or not, medical cannabis is lawful to possess and cultivate in California. The challenge for law enforcement (and everyone else) is developing enforceable regulations that give cannabis consumers safe and affordable access while discouraging drug-trafficking organizations and growers who aren’t compliant with state cannabis laws and non-diversion guidelines.

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