Fresno County Ordinance 14-001, which bans medical cannabis cultivation, was enacted Jan. 7, 2014, and took effect 30 days later. The ordinance applies to all land parcels in the unincorporated county, including Fig Garden and Tarpey Village. If you live in one of Fresno County’s 15 incorporated cities, a separate city ordinance applies.
The Fresno County growing ban was amended by Ordinance 15-003 on February 24, 2015, to “clarify” the county’s stance that plants can be seized and fine citations issued simultaneously, all without advance notice to growers or property owners.
Key provisions of the Fresno County growing ban:
- Bans all cannabis cultivation, both indoors and outdoors.
- Primary enforcement by Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
- Growers can be arrested on a criminal misdemeanor charge.
- Growers can face heavy fines starting at $1,000 per plant.
- Property owners, including family members, can be fined too.
- Very short timelines to appeal citations and fines.
- Prop. 215/SB 420 compliance will not stop enforcement.
- Additional fines, interest, legal fees and costs of abatement can be charged.
- County can place lien on property for unpaid fines.
- Property inspection warrants are authorized … but unnecessary where deputies are granted permission to inspect. DON’T LET DEPUTIES ONTO YOUR PROPERTY WITHOUT A WARRANT!! EVER!!!
- Warrantless admission to property is authorized for summary abatement of plants where an “immediate” threat to public health and safety exists, as determined by sheriff’s deputies.
Evolution of Fresno County cannabis laws
In July 2010, Fresno County supervisors passed an urgency ordinance prohibiting medical cannabis dispensaries. In August of that same year, that 45-day prohibition was extended until July 13, 2012. A final set of medical cannabis regulations, banning dispensaries and limiting cultivation to specified industrial zones with stringent conditions, was finalized in August 2011.
In September 2010, following a pair of high-profile shootings connected to medical marijuana gardens, Fresno County supervisors passed a ban on the outdoor cultivation of medical cannabis. An addendum states the ban was enacted “pending the development of standards and regulations relating to cultivation.”
Four Fresno-area dispensaries and a local Prop. 215 patient filed suit in October 2010 against Fresno County, Sheriff Margaret Mims and Alan Weaver, director of public works. A Fresno County Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the ban, and continued the stay until Nov. 30, 2010, to allow growers to harvest their crops. Despite the TRO, supervisors voted to extend the cultivation ban until July 2011, when the county released a set of draft regulations that would, among other things, prohibit the operation of storefront dispensaries and permit indoor cultivation only within certain manufacturing zones. Those rules were finalized in August 2011, and supervisors rejected a proposed loosening of the ordinance in mid-November.
Medical cannabis dispensary moratorium (7-13-2010)
Staff report on dispensary moratorium extension (8-24-2010)
Moratorium extension (8-24-2010)
Outdoor cultivation ban (9-14-2010)
Cultivation ban addendum (9-14-2010)
Cultivation ban extension (10-26-10)
Cultivation ban extension staff report (10-26-10)
Draft medical cannabis regulations (July 2011)