Fresno County supervisors voted Tuesday to uphold $477,000 in fines imposed against medical cannabis patients and property owners, while granting one property owner’s appeal.
The vote was more symbolic than substantive, as many of the patients cited have either left the county or lack the ability to pay. Yet Tuesday’s hearings highlighted the fine-centric approach adopted by Fresno County, as well as the plight of non-resident property owners who get cited right along with the growers.
abc30 coverage (view on website):
Several court cases have resulted from fines imposed by supervisors last year, and at least one more lawsuit is expected to be filed after Tuesday’s hearing.
“It’s so arbitrary,” said lawyer Robert Wynne, who intends to take legal action against the county on behalf of Gabino Zambrano, a property owner who was fined $95,000 for plants grown by his tenant, who was later evicted. “Our point will be a due process and equal protection violation. You are treating people differently in the same situation.” (Read full Fresno Bee story.)
Your Central Valley coverage (view on website):
Only one appeal was granted Tuesday. Carl and Donna Hager received a $228,000 citation in the mail in October, two months after deputies pulled 228 plants grown by tenants on farmland owned by the Hagers. Supervisors believed the Hagers’ statements that they knew nothing about the plants, but they didn’t buy the same claim made by Ana Maria Morales, a Kern County woman who was fined $6,700 for plants grown by her father in south Fresno County. Her father, Luciano Morales, was fined $60,300, even though he had a medical recommendation that permitted him to cultivate cannabis under state law.
County video (view on website):