Fresno County Issues $477K In Marijuana Fines

CALIFORNIA:  Fresno County officials issued $477,000 in fines after denying appeals by residents accused of illegally growing medical marijuana on private property.

The Fresno Bee reports one man, Gabino Zambrano, was fined $95,000 on Tuesday because a renter was growing 95 plants on his property. Zambrano said he didn’t know the renter was growing pot. The renter was also fined $95,000.

Another property owner, Ana Maria Morales, was fined $6,700 because her father planted marijuana on her land. She claimed she had no knowledge of the plants. The father, Luciano Morales, will pay more than $60,000 in fines.

Officials say under the county’s ordinance, medical marijuana is a danger to public health and safety. There are about a dozen lawsuits filed against the county for carrying out the ordinance, which has been enforced for 13 months.

Fresno County Supervisors Weigh Changes To Zero-Tolerance Marijuana Rules

CALIFORNIA:  Fresno County supervisors will consider a variety of options Tuesday to alter the county’s stringent, zero-tolerance rules for medical marijuana. But the only thing they appear inclined to change is to have someone other than themselves take over the chore of hearing marijuana appeals.

The county currently bans marijuana cultivation, even for medicinal purposes, and imposes stiff fines on county-area residents who get caught growing pot. Those rules have spawned hours-long hearings before county supervisors of appeals from marijuana growers who were fined.

One suggestion before county supervisors Tuesday is to remove the outright ban on marijuana plants and allow 12 to be grown by patients needing medical marijuana.

County Counsel Dan Cederborg said the proposal was to give supervisors options for “discussion purposes.”

Medical marijuana advocates were hoping for more definitive changes.

Fresno County California Supervisors To Weigh Tougher Marijuana Rules

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. [Read more…]