New court filings are available for viewing in the lawsuit filed by the Fresno Cannabis Association and the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients against the City of Fresno. The suit challenges the city’s cannabis cultivation ban, which was enacted in 2014 after Fresno County also banned growing. Both the city and county ordinances impose heavy fines of $1000 per plant for violations.
The suit alleges that the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by wrongly claiming the zoning ordinance was CEQA-exempt before passage. Hearing is tentatively set for May 15, 2015, in Fresno County Superior Court.
The administrative record of Ordinance 2014-20 will be reviewed by a judge as the primary evidence on which the case will be decided. Some of the most interesting reading comes in the transcripts of two public hearings held March 20 and March 27, 2014. (Respectively, Tab 6, pp. 43-85; Tab 8, pp. 107-154.) A detailed comment letter from the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients begins at Tab 10 (pp. 176-255). Andreas Borgeas, then-chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, urges the city to follow the county’s lead at p. 257. A series of letters opposing the cannabis cultivation ban appears at pp. 259-301 with letters from Dennis Nebeker, Michael Levine, Ellen Komp of California NORML; Michael S. Green (two letters, since the Fresno City Council wouldn’t accept one); Michael Perez; Gary D. Harris; Shawn Hawkins; Andrea Lomascola; Susan Soares; Louise Yenovkian; and Jonathan Zwickel.
The Fresno cannabis CEQA lawsuit itself was filed May 8, 2014.