Growing marijuana in Fresno County could get expensive

September 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The sheriff's department estimates there are 450 big marijuana farms operating in Fresno County. Those who live near them told the board of supervisors they're getting fed up.

"All this marijuana growing has brought in people you wouldn't want in your neighborhood."

A group of residents from the Squaw Valley area in the foothills east of Fresno, who did not want their names used for their own protection told the board imposing new rules and tough fines, might help.

"I want to say I support the higher fines because unless we hit them in the pocket book those marijuana growers it doesn't mean anything."

Under the ordinance the county would limit the number of medical marijuana plants on any one parcel of land to just twelve plants or less.

Those behind big marijuana farms often claim to be representing hundreds of medical marijuana users. They also generally believe they can grow up to 99 plants per patient. But the county says it can restrict the number to twelve and Undersheriff Steve Wilkins says the ordinance will be a big help.

Wilkins explained, "This ordinance as presented certainly gives us another tool to deal with large scale marijuana grows in the county."

Under the ordinance the Sheriff could order the grower or property owner to remove anything above twelve plants. The punishment would be a $1,000.00 fine, for every plant, every day they are not removed.

"I think it's going to help us put a dent in them," said Wilkins. "I think once people know that we are up there enforcing the ordinance, that allows us to do it much quicker, and much more steep in terms of fines think it's going to slow them down."

The board of supervisors approved the first reading of the ordinance on Thursday. They will take a final vote in 30 days, and if approved the ordinance would take effect 30 days later, in early November. After this year's marijuana harvest.


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