Medical marijuana growers concerned following homicide


Tulare County investigators are still looking for the shooter. In the meantime, other South Valley medical marijuana growers are concerned their pot farms could be a criminal's next target.

Investigators said the Strathmore home was being robbed of its medical marijuana plants when the shooting happened. An unidentified man in his 20s was shot and killed while he checked out a strange noise outside the home.

"My clients, as an organization, really are concerned about cases like this, where somebody gets hurt because they are legitimately providing a need to somebody who is sick," said William Romaine, an attorney representing Foothill Growers Association.

Romaine said crimes like Wednesday's homicide will not stop his clients from cultivating their marijuana, despite the dangers attached to the grows.

"They can't stop," Romaine said. "If they stop they're going to be much sicker than they are now, if they stop they're going to be in terrible pain."

The Tulare County Sheriff's Department is concerned over the number of grows on the valley floor and said people need to tell authorities when they see suspicious activity.

"We recommend that if you hear a disturbance or anything like that prior to going out and checking it yourself, contact us. Losing property is not worth your life," said Lt. Keith Douglass with the Tulare County Sheriff's Department.

But some growers aren't reporting problems because they think they'll get in trouble for not obeying local ordinances.

Investigators said three medical marijuana recommendation cards were provided for the plants at this Strathmore home. But the plants are growing outside, which is against Tulare County's medical marijuana ordinance.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department said it's dealing with similar issues. It often receives several phone calls about outdoor medical marijuana grows. The department told Action News the difference between state and federal laws is creating a problem policing medical marijuana grows.

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