The Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday that growing medical marijuana will no longer be allowed in Fresno County. County leaders voted unanimously to enact a zero tolerance policy. The ban includes growing in both indoor and outdoor gardens.
"A complete ban on this is in the best interest of the community," said Fresno Co. Supervisor Andreas Borgeas.
All five Fresno county supervisors agreed that medical marijuana grows need to stop.
"We're not taking away your medical marijuana cards. We voted to allow that and it's still there. We're just saying you can't grow marijuana in Fresno County because of all the issues it's created," said Fresno Co. Supervisor Henry Perea.
Supervisors say under the California constitution, local jurisdictions can enact a public nuisance ordinance which banishes indoor and outdoor marijuana gardens.
"The only people you are hurting are people like me. Regular everyday citizens like me who comply by the law and live a lawful life," said George Boyadjian, a medical marijuana user.
County leaders say this ordinance is not designed to make life difficult the legitimate user who has one or two plants. Rather, it's targeting the drug cartels.
"It's not going to stop the illegal grows or the criminal activity because those people are the only ones who don't care about the laws let alone a local ordinance anyway," said Brenda Linder, a medical marijuana supporter.
In recent years, many marijuana grows have moved out of the mountains and onto the more densely populated valley floor. It's caused the Fresno County Sheriff's Department to throw a lot of resources at eradication operations. In 2012 and 2013, deputies took down a total of 166 sites and cleared 313,000 pot plants.
"I think there's going to be some who have been watching what we've been doing and they'll be following suit," said Supervisor Perea.
Before going into effect, supervisors must finalize their vote during a second public hearing scheduled for January 7th.
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