Fresno, Calif. - Fresno's Police Chief says marijuana was a factor in a home invasion January 5th that left two people in the hospital with gunshot wounds. City councilman Clint Olivier continues to push for new marijuana policy as city leaders grapple over how to regulate the drug. Right now Fresno is following state law. It's legal to grow six plants inside your home in Fresno, but the city has is now paying a consultant $50,000 to figure out the best plan going forward. That could include allowing medical marijuana shops to do business.
"Regardless of whether or not there are any facilities in our city we are going to see an increase in crime. We already have," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
The presence of marijuana continues to grow in California with its legalization. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says all the pot is inspiring crime. He specifically referenced a home invasion last week where two people were shot at a home in northeast fresno.
"Both of those individuals a male and a female were involved in the sale of Marijuana," said Chief Dyer.
Chief Dyer says it's a prime example of how valuable the drug remains on the black market.
"In fact there was marijuana stolen from that residence that had been contained in a styrofoam ice chest,' said Chief Dyer.
City councilman Clint Olivier says city leaders can't ignore marijuana issues.
"The cannabis issue is something that isn't going away," said Olivier.
He's hopeful new marijuana policy could make a difference.
"I believe that a very sober and responsible regulation of cannabis is going to lead to less crime," said city councilman Clint Olivier.
The regulation would be aimed at helping residents to responsibly navigate this new era of legal pot.
"There are people who are struggling with chronic disease and chronic pain who don't want to continue to buy from a dealer or a black marketeer," said Olivier.
Under the current law Chief Dyer laid out his safety guidelines.
"Making sure you're not involved number on in the sales of Marijuana because that's illegal. And number two if you are going to grow marijuana make sure you are growing it in a fashion that is not going to invite people into your house to steal it," said Chief Dyer.
Law enforcement continues to oppose any kind of marijuana business in the city, but city leaders say 90,000 people living here can't grow marijuana because of rental agreements. City leaders will be working closely with that consultant next week.