Sheriff Mims proposes to eliminate medical marijuana dispensaries

FRESNO, Calif.

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UPDATE: Fresno County Supervisors voted 4-0 to push the ordinance to a final hearing on August 9
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Sheriff Mims put a 20 page report on the agenda for the Board of Sups meeting. Supporters say it will help the Sheriffs Office control the cultivation of medical marijuana in Fresno County while critics say the ordinance makes it nearly impossible for anyone qualify and grow the plant.

Under the new ordinance proposal -- medical marijuana collectives like the one at Tarpey Village will cease to exist. And anyone who wants to grow pot legally will have six months to do so in the industrial area of Fresno County, where they'll be at least a thousand feet away from schools, parks, and churches.

Supervisor Henry Perea says the ordinance will help stop illegitimate grows taking place all over the county. "Really what I think it's turned into is a lot of criminal activity that has taken advantage of a law that was intended to help people. And we're going to put a stop to that in Fresno County." said Perea.

Potential growers will need to apply for a cultivation license in addition to a laundry list of other requirements. For instance, owners must adhere to strict security measures to buildings which include alarms and surveillance cameras.

A security guard must also be present at all times during the hours of operation which is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. "I'm not sure whether anybody could actually comply with all those conditions or not." said Brenda Linder.

Local attorney Brenda Linder represents a handful of medical marijuana collectives in Fresno County. She says the ordinance leaves patients with little or no options when it comes to getting their medicine.

"They're banning all outdoor growing by qualified patients or collectives. And if they de facto ban all even indoor growing by any collectives or an individual, where do they expect that the qualified patient in Fresno County is supposed to get their medicine from?" said Linder. But supervisor Perea says the ordinance can and will work.

"We're trying to strike that balance. Yes if you have a medical need and we're going to make sure that need is met for you but at the same token we're not going to let the criminal element profit off of that either." said Perea.

There are still a lot of legal points that we didn't bring up in this proposal. But it's sure to be discussed at Tuesday's meeting. There is a second hearing scheduled for August but the board could take emergency action and approve the ordinance.

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