Heavy cannabis fines set in Fresno County

Following the lead of Kern County, Fresno County supervisors are set to approve heavy fines to force cannabis growers to follow local law. The ordinance set to be approved Tuesday allows cultivation of 12 cannabis plants per parcel, a big change from the current outdoor growing ban, and repeals the county’s former licensing requirements. The proposed Fresno County cannabis ordinance continues the existing bans on dispensaries and personal consumption outside one’s residence.

Oct. 8 update: The draft ordinance was pulled from the consent agenda and tabled after additional public comment and board discussion. County counsel was instructed to draft a new ordinance after receiving additional input from board members. No instruction was given to solicit input from cannabis growers, property owners or other stakeholders.

The ordinance passed its first reading on a 5-0 vote, with final passage scheduled for Oct. 8. While supervisors clearly endorsed adopting a law with more “teeth,” they expressed special interest in following Kern County’s fine structure: $1,000 per excess plant per day. According to comments made at the board meeting, Kern County deputies are using the threat of fines to encourage summary abatement of excess plants on the spot. Discussion of doing the same to cannabis growers in Fresno County drew chuckles from some board members, as heard in this audio of the first reading of the ordinance Sept. 24.