County Supervisors determined to keep anti-marijuana policies in Fresno County

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County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas explained Fresno County is not letting up on the anti-marijuana policies it has crafted over the years. (KFSN)

County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas explained Fresno County is not letting up on the anti-marijuana policies it has crafted over the years.

"We began the lengthy process of becoming a dry county and essentially prohibited marijuana in every conceivable form."

But the county's ban on pot ran into the will of the people then California voters approved Prop 64, allowing recreational marijuana use.

The county however decided to dig in and use all the rules at its disposal to restrict marijuana growing including imposing a $1,000 a plant fine for any outdoor grows and anything over the six plant indoor limit the state now allows.

Borgeas said, "You've got to maintain a high penalty otherwise it's just a cost of doing business."

New supervisor Nathan Magsig expressed concern that on a big bust the fines could be so high they would not hold up in court.

"The courts might take a look at our fine structure, and if we don't, maybe limit the top end of the fine-- it might be so high the courts just throw it out."

But County Attorney Dan Cederborg said he was confident the fines were not too high and said they would discourage growing in Fresno County.

"Because, then you force the cultivation into those place where it is allowed and can be controlled, regulated, monitored under state law."

Only one citizen spoke out on the county's proposed ordinance. Christine Flanagan said she hoped legalization would get rid of the illegal commercial operations in Squaw Valley.

"I actually wanted to say I was in favor of prop 64, hoping it would get it out of our neighborhood and bring tax money into the area."

But the Supervisors want nothing to do with that-- making it clear they want a ban on growing, dispensaries, and sales, despite the potential tax revenues. They did agree to one change; they do not want to continue holding court like hearings on pot growers, instead agreeing to hire a code enforcement officer to impose the $1,000 a plant fines.

Fresno County's rules, when they are given final approval in a few weeks, will only apply in the unincorporated areas of the county. Cities and towns in the county can draft their own rules.

Fresno and Clovis have indicated they want to continue with near complete bans. So far Coalinga is the only city planning to cash in on legal pot once state laws regulating dispensaries and sales are finalized-- that's expected by the end of the year.

Related Topics:
politicsmarijuanafresno county
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