CALIFORNIA: Two revamped marijuana ordinance proposals — one that completely bans marijuana growing in Fresno County — will be before county supervisors on Tuesday.
Both revisions are an effort to curtail the emergence of large, dangerous marijuana grows on the Valley floor that have been hotbeds for crime, officials say.
The other proposal limits growers to six mature, or 12 immature pot plants. Growing space also can’t exceed 120 square feet within either a room of a single-family dwelling, or a detached, covered outdoor structure.
Some worry the former option — banning all marijuana growing — would infringe on the rights of those who consume marijuana for medical reasons, protected by California’s medical marijuana law, Proposition 215.
“Obviously the sheriff would prefer zero plants,” Undersheriff Steve Wilkins said of the two proposals. “Regardless of how you package it, it’s (marijuana) a violation of federal law. But the other option is still a valuable tool and helps with large grows, where violence is coming from.”
Stiffer penalties would apply for both options: misdemeanor charges, $1,000 fines per plant in excess of the maximum allowed, along with additional $100 fines per plant, per day, past a designated removal date.
The fines currently on the books are much lower, often several hundred dollars: “a slap on the hand compared to how much money is to be made,” Wilkins said.
A pound of marijuana goes for about $1,200 in the Valley and $4,200 in Boston, where many Fresno-grown plants have been illegally shipped, Sheriff Margaret Mims said.