Medical marijuana growers seek injunction on ban

FRESNO, Calif.

County supervisors enacted the emergency ordinance to stem the violence involving medical marijuana grows. But critics say it's done the exact opposite, they're now scared to report criminal activity for fear of losing their plants.

Four plaintiffs are seeking an injunction in Fresno County's emergency ordinance that outlaws all outdoor pot grows. William Carney is a medical marijuana collective owner. "This ban is not conducive to a good relationship with the community."

Collective owners say the ordinance violates their legal rights but not everyone agrees.

"We're not saying you can't grow medical marijuana in Fresno County. We're just going to regulate how, where, and when you can grow It." said Fresno County supervisor Henry Perea.

Supervisor Perea helped pass the legislation in September. Moments after the Board of Supervisors meeting Sheriff Margaret Mims said enforcing the ordinance was unlikely because it put her department on shaky legal ground.

Action News obtained a copy of the injunction which disputes that claim. It reads in part "that deputies informed the qualified patients that they must pull up all of their plants or the deputies would be back within two days and do it for them."

Linda Nebeker runs a collective shop in Northwest Fresno and says she's getting 8-10 calls a week from patients who are scared to report criminal activity on site because they have a medical marijuana garden.

"They don't know should we pull out the plants, and if someone does try and come out and rob us and we call the sheriff's department are they going to come out? They're not even sure they'll come out. They're afraid to call them." said Nebeker.

Supervisor Perea thinks the real reason many growers are scared is because they have too many medical marijuana plants in the first place.

"They have other folks who want to come in and steal their property so that they can sell that on the open black market. That's what they're really afraid of not just a law enforcement response." said Perea.

The injunction request will be heard in superior court on Wednesday. Sheriff Margaret Mims could not be reached for comment on how the department is currently enforcing the pot ordinance.

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