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Fresno county cannabis ban

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Presentation describing the proposed Fresno County cannabis ban, which is set for final approval Jan. 7, 2014. The ordinance would ban all types and sizes of cannabis gardens, indoors and outdoors, …

Presentation describing the proposed Fresno County cannabis ban, which is set for final approval Jan. 7, 2014. The ordinance would ban all types and sizes of cannabis gardens, indoors and outdoors, regardless of zoning, parcel size or patient recommendation.


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  • 1. Fresno County cannabis ban: Issues and alternatives Presented by FresnoCannabis.org
  • 2. Overview Fresno County supervisors will vote Jan. 7 to ban ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATION
  • 3. Overview Fresno County supervisors will vote Jan. 7 to ban ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATION ➲ Background: Hundreds of large grow sites, citizen complaints, spotty enforcement.
  • 4. Overview Fresno County supervisors will vote Jan. 7 to ban ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATION ➲ Background: Hundreds of large grow sites, citizen complaints, spotty enforcement. ➲ Review of California cannabis laws: Proposition 215 and SB 420.
  • 5. Overview Fresno County supervisors will vote Jan. 7 to ban ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATION ➲ Background: Hundreds of large grow sites, citizen complaints, spotty enforcement. ➲ Review of California cannabis laws: Proposition 215 and SB 420. ➲ Review of current county ordinance.
  • 6. Overview Fresno County supervisors will vote Jan. 7 to ban ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATION ➲ Background: Hundreds of large grow sites, citizen complaints, spotty enforcement. ➲ Review of California cannabis laws: Proposition 215 and SB 420. ➲ Review of current county ordinance. ➲ Review of the proposed ordinance.
  • 7. Overview Fresno County supervisors will vote Jan. 7 to ban ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATION ➲ Background: Hundreds of large grow sites, citizen complaints, spotty enforcement. ➲ Review of California cannabis laws: Proposition 215 and SB 420. ➲ Review of current county ordinance. ➲ Review of the proposed ordinance. ➲ Environmental/ag considerations.
  • 8. Overview Fresno County supervisors will vote Jan. 7 to ban ALL CANNABIS CULTIVATION ➲ Background: Hundreds of large grow sites, citizen complaints, spotty enforcement. ➲ Review of California cannabis laws: Proposition 215 and SB 420. ➲ Review of current county ordinance. ➲ Review of the proposed ordinance. ➲ Environmental/ag considerations. ➲ Open government and due process.
  • 9. Background Hundreds of large cannabis gardens create problems for neighbors, law enforcement.
  • 10. Background Hundreds of large cannabis gardens create problems for neighbors, law enforcement. This 2013 raid near Sanger seized >10,000 plants.
  • 11. Background Hundreds of large cannabis gardens create problems for neighbors, law enforcement. ➲ Complaints include nuisance odors, pumping from depleted aquifers, frequent reports of shootings, theft and other criminal behavior.
  • 12. Background Hundreds of large cannabis gardens create problems for neighbors, law enforcement. ➲ Complaints include nuisance odors, pumping from depleted aquifers, frequent reports of shootings, theft and other criminal behavior. ➲ Because grow sites are nominally compliant with state cannabis laws, investigative and enforcement options can be limited.
  • 13. Background Hundreds of large cannabis gardens create problems for neighbors, law enforcement. ➲ Complaints include nuisance odors, pumping from depleted aquifers, frequent reports of shootings, theft and other criminal behavior. ➲ Because grow sites are nominally compliant with state cannabis laws, investigative and enforcement options can be limited. ➲ Only a fraction of gardens are abated.
  • 14. Background Hundreds of large cannabis gardens create problems for neighbors, law enforcement. ➲ Complaints include nuisance odors, pumping from depleted aquifers, frequent reports of shootings, theft and other criminal behavior. ➲ Because grow sites are nominally compliant with state cannabis laws, investigative and enforcement options can be limited. ➲ Only a fraction of gardens are abated. ➲ Conclusion: County law is ineffective.
  • 15. Background Hundreds of large cannabis gardens create problems for neighbors, law enforcement. ➲ Complaints include nuisance odors, pumping from depleted aquifers, frequent reports of shootings, theft and other criminal behavior. ➲ Because grow sites are nominally compliant with state cannabis laws, investigative and enforcement options can be limited. ➲ Only a fraction of gardens are abated. ➲ Conclusion: County law is ineffective. ➲ Hypothesis: Fines will reduce problem.
  • 16. California cannabis laws The Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) was enacted by California voters in 1996.
  • 17. California cannabis laws The Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) was enacted by California voters in 1996. ➲ Created affirmative defense to state criminal statutes prohibiting cannabis possession and cultivation …
  • 18. California cannabis laws The Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) was enacted by California voters in 1996. ➲ Created affirmative defense to state criminal statutes prohibiting cannabis possession and cultivation … ONLY.
  • 19. California cannabis laws The Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) was enacted by California voters in 1996. ➲ Created affirmative defense to state criminal statutes prohibiting cannabis possession and cultivation … ONLY. ➲ No immunity from arrest or prosecution.
  • 20. California cannabis laws The Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) was enacted by California voters in 1996. ➲ Created affirmative defense to state criminal statutes prohibiting cannabis possession and cultivation … ONLY. ➲ No immunity from arrest or prosecution. ➲ Defense available only to “qualified patients” and “primary caregivers.”
  • 21. California cannabis laws The Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) was enacted by California voters in 1996. ➲ Created affirmative defense to state criminal statutes prohibiting cannabis possession and cultivation … ONLY. ➲ No immunity from arrest or prosecution. ➲ Defense available only to “qualified patients” and “primary caregivers.” ➲ No provision for collective growing.
  • 22. California cannabis laws The Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) was enacted by California voters in 1996. ➲ Created affirmative defense to state criminal statutes prohibiting cannabis possession and cultivation … ONLY. ➲ No immunity from arrest or prosecution. ➲ Defense available only to “qualified patients” and “primary caregivers.” ➲ No provision for collective growing. ➲ No statewide rules or regulations.
  • 23. California cannabis laws The Medical Marijuana Program Act (Senate Bill 420) was enacted by the California Legislature in 2003. Its goals:
  • 24. California cannabis laws The Medical Marijuana Program Act (Senate Bill 420) was enacted by the California Legislature in 2003. Its goals: ➲ Clarification of scope of Prop. 215.
  • 25. California cannabis laws The Medical Marijuana Program Act (Senate Bill 420) was enacted by the California Legislature in 2003. Its goals: ➲ Clarification of scope of Prop. 215. ➲ Facilitate prompt IDs of qualified patients.
  • 26. California cannabis laws The Medical Marijuana Program Act (Senate Bill 420) was enacted by the California Legislature in 2003. Its goals: ➲ Clarification of scope of Prop. 215. ➲ Facilitate prompt IDs of qualified patients. ➲ Provide guidance to law enforcement.
  • 27. California cannabis laws The Medical Marijuana Program Act (Senate Bill 420) was enacted by the California Legislature in 2003. Its goals: ➲ Clarification of scope of Prop. 215. ➲ Facilitate prompt IDs of qualified patients. ➲ Provide guidance to law enforcement. ➲ Promote uniformity among counties.
  • 28. California cannabis laws The Medical Marijuana Program Act (Senate Bill 420) was enacted by the California Legislature in 2003. Its goals: ➲ Clarification of scope of Prop. 215. ➲ Facilitate prompt IDs of qualified patients. ➲ Provide guidance to law enforcement. ➲ Promote uniformity among counties. ➲ Enhance safe access by providing for collective cultivation projects.
  • 29. California cannabis laws Senate Bill 420 made several changes:
  • 30. California cannabis laws Senate Bill 420 made several changes: ➲ Created a voluntary state ID card program, overseen by county health departments.
  • 31. California cannabis laws Senate Bill 420 made several changes: ➲ Created a voluntary state ID card program, overseen by county health departments. ➲ Expanded affirmative defense to include possession, possession for sale, cultivation, transportation, maintaining a drug house and creating a public nuisance.
  • 32. California cannabis laws Senate Bill 420 made several changes: ➲ Created a voluntary state ID card program, overseen by county health departments. ➲ Expanded affirmative defense to include possession, possession for sale, cultivation, transportation, maintaining a drug house and creating a public nuisance. ➲ Barred arrests for state ID cardholders, unless other crimes observed.
  • 33. California cannabis laws Senate Bill 420 made several changes: ➲ Created a voluntary state ID card program, overseen by county health departments. ➲ Expanded affirmative defense to include possession, possession for sale, cultivation, transportation, maintaining a drug house and creating a public nuisance. ➲ Barred arrests for state ID cardholders, unless other crimes observed. ➲ Set 6-plant cultivation threshold.
  • 34. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In July 2010, the Board of Supervisors passed an urgency ordinance banning medical cannabis dispensaries.
  • 35. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In July 2010, the Board of Supervisors passed an urgency ordinance banning medical cannabis dispensaries. ➲ One month later, the moratorium was extended to July 2012.
  • 36. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In July 2010, the Board of Supervisors passed an urgency ordinance banning medical cannabis dispensaries. ➲ One month later, the moratorium was extended to July 2012. ➲ In August 2011, supervisors permanently banned dispensaries, placed heavy restrictions on cultivation facilities, and banned consumption except at home.
  • 37. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In July 2010, the Board of Supervisors passed an urgency ordinance banning medical cannabis dispensaries. ➲ One month later, the moratorium was extended to July 2012. ➲ In August 2011, supervisors permanently banned dispensaries, placed heavy restrictions on cultivation facilities, and banned consumption except at home. ➲ The legality of the law is in dispute.
  • 38. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In July 2010, the Board of Supervisors passed an urgency ordinance banning medical cannabis dispensaries. ➲ One month later, the moratorium was extended to July 2012. ➲ In August 2011, supervisors permanently banned dispensaries, placed heavy restrictions on cultivation facilities, and banned consumption except at home. ➲ The legality of the law is in dispute. ➲ Trial is set for February 2014.
  • 39. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In September 2013, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department proposed a new law similar to Kern County's ordinance.
  • 40. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In September 2013, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department proposed a new law similar to Kern County's ordinance. ➲ The proposed Fresno County law set fines of $1,000/plant/day in excess of 12 plants.
  • 41. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In September 2013, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department proposed a new law similar to Kern County's ordinance. ➲ The proposed Fresno County law set fines of $1,000/plant/day in excess of 12 plants. ➲ The proposed law allowed violations to be charged as criminal misdemeanors.
  • 42. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In September 2013, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department proposed a new law similar to Kern County's ordinance. ➲ The proposed Fresno County law set fines of $1,000/plant/day in excess of 12 plants. ➲ The proposed law allowed violations to be charged as criminal misdemeanors. ➲ The sheriff was granted discretionary authority to impose even higher fines.
  • 43. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In September 2013, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department proposed a new law similar to Kern County's ordinance. ➲ The proposed Fresno County law set fines of $1,000/plant/day in excess of 12 plants. ➲ The proposed law allowed violations to be charged as criminal misdemeanors. ➲ The sheriff was granted discretionary authority to impose even higher fines. ➲ Warrantless property inspections.
  • 44. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In October 2013, the Board of Supervisors backed away from the 12-plant limit and directed county counsel to come back with an ordinance banning all cultivation.
  • 45. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In October 2013, the Board of Supervisors backed away from the 12-plant limit and directed county counsel to come back with an ordinance banning all cultivation. ➲ The first reading of the total growing ban was heard on Dec. 10. The board rejected an alternative plan to allow small-scale cultivation in homes and outbuildings.
  • 46. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In October 2013, the Board of Supervisors backed away from the 12-plant limit and directed county counsel to come back with an ordinance banning all cultivation. ➲ The first reading of the total growing ban was heard on Dec. 10. The board rejected an alternative plan to allow small-scale cultivation in homes and outbuildings. ➲ The ordinance comes back Jan. 7 for second reading and final passage.
  • 47. Fresno County cannabis laws ➲ In October 2013, the Board of Supervisors backed away from the 12-plant limit and directed county counsel to come back with an ordinance banning all cultivation. ➲ The first reading of the total growing ban was heard on Dec. 10. The board rejected an alternative plan to allow small-scale cultivation in homes and outbuildings. ➲ The ordinance comes back Jan. 7 for second reading and final passage. ➲ The ban takes effect 30 days later.
  • 48. Fresno County cannabis ban ➲ Applies to indoor AND outdoor growing.
  • 49. Fresno County cannabis ban ➲ Applies to indoor AND outdoor growing. ➲ Zero plants are allowed, regardless of recommendation or medical need.
  • 50. Fresno County cannabis ban ➲ Applies to indoor AND outdoor growing. ➲ Zero plants are allowed, regardless of recommendation or medical need. ➲ Violations can be charged as criminal misdemeanors, punishable with fines and/or jail terms of up to six months.
  • 51. Fresno County cannabis ban ➲ Applies to indoor AND outdoor growing. ➲ Zero plants are allowed, regardless of recommendation or medical need. ➲ Violations can be charged as criminal misdemeanors, punishable with fines and/or jail terms of up to six months. ➲ Fines start at $1,000 per plant, PLUS...
  • 52. Fresno County cannabis ban ➲ Applies to indoor AND outdoor growing. ➲ Zero plants are allowed, regardless of recommendation or medical need. ➲ Violations can be charged as criminal misdemeanors, punishable with fines and/or jail terms of up to six months. ➲ Fines start at $1,000 per plant, PLUS... ➲ $100 per plant per day if not abated.
  • 53. Fresno County cannabis ban ➲ Applies to indoor AND outdoor growing. ➲ Zero plants are allowed, regardless of recommendation or medical need. ➲ Violations can be charged as criminal misdemeanors, punishable with fines and/or jail terms of up to six months. ➲ Fines start at $1,000 per plant, PLUS... ➲ $100 per plant per day if not abated. ➲ Court costs and “maximum” interest.
  • 54. Fresno County cannabis ban ➲ Applies to indoor AND outdoor growing. ➲ Zero plants are allowed, regardless of recommendation or medical need. ➲ Violations can be charged as criminal misdemeanors, punishable with fines and/or jail terms of up to six months. ➲ Fines start at $1,000 per plant, PLUS... ➲ $100 per plant per day if not abated. ➲ Court costs and “maximum” interest. ➲ Property liens for unpaid fines.
  • 55. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County planners have prepared a “Negative Declaration” for board approval.
  • 56. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County planners have prepared a “Negative Declaration” for board approval. ➲ The “neg deg” says the growing ban will not negatively impact the environment.
  • 57. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County planners have prepared a “Negative Declaration” for board approval. ➲ The “neg deg” says the growing ban will not negatively impact the environment. ➲ Wake-up call: Between 3% and 8% of all household electricity in California is used to grow cannabis with high-intensity lighting, air conditioners and other costly equipment.
  • 58. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County planners have prepared a “Negative Declaration” for board approval. ➲ The “neg deg” says the growing ban will not negatively impact the environment. ➲ Wake-up call: Between 3% and 8% of all household electricity in California is used to grow cannabis with high-intensity lighting, air conditioners and other costly equipment.
  • 59. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County planners have prepared a “Negative Declaration” for board approval. ➲ The “neg deg” says the growing ban will not negatively impact the environment. ➲ Wake-up call: Between 3% and 8% of all household electricity in California is used to grow cannabis with high-intensity lighting, air conditioners and other costly equipment. ➲ Outdoor growing bans (and total bans) drive growers indoors, boosting the generation of greenhouse gases.
  • 60. Environmental/agricultural
  • 61. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County is the richest agricultural county in the world, but some farmlands suffer from high salinity and/or lack of water.
  • 62. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County is the richest agricultural county in the world, but some farmlands suffer from high salinity and/or lack of water. ➲ In September, Gov. Brown signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The bill clears the way for hemp farming in the Central Valley with federal approval.
  • 63. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County is the richest agricultural county in the world, but some farmlands suffer from high salinity and/or lack of water. ➲ In September, Gov. Brown signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The bill clears the way for hemp farming in the Central Valley with federal approval. ➲ Adult-use cannabis was legalized by Washington and Colorado, and California will follow suit in 2016.
  • 64. Environmental/agricultural ➲ Fresno County is the richest agricultural county in the world, but some farmlands suffer from high salinity and/or lack of water. ➲ In September, Gov. Brown signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The bill clears the way for hemp farming in the Central Valley with federal approval. ➲ Adult-use cannabis was legalized by Washington and Colorado, and California will follow suit in 2016. ➲ Sustainable outdoor growing is best for patients, farmers and the environment!
  • 65. Open government / due process ➲ The Fresno County supervisors and sheriff have gone “rogue” by refusing to observe California's medical cannabis laws.
  • 66. Open government / due process ➲ The Fresno County supervisors and sheriff have gone “rogue” by refusing to observe California's medical cannabis laws. ➲ The ordinance is being fast-tracked around the Fresno County Planning Commission, so planners have no ability to provide input.
  • 67. Open government / due process ➲ The Fresno County supervisors and sheriff have gone “rogue” by refusing to observe California's medical cannabis laws. ➲ The ordinance is being fast-tracked around the Fresno County Planning Commission, so planners have no ability to provide input. ➲ Heavier fines for growing cannabis than for all other categories of “public nuisance.”
  • 68. Open government / due process ➲ The Fresno County supervisors and sheriff have gone “rogue” by refusing to observe California's medical cannabis laws. ➲ The ordinance is being fast-tracked around the Fresno County Planning Commission, so planners have no ability to provide input. ➲ Heavier fines for growing cannabis than for all other categories of “public nuisance.” ➲ No substantial evidence to support findings of no environmental impact.
  • 69. Open government / due process ➲ The Fresno County supervisors and sheriff have gone “rogue” by refusing to observe California's medical cannabis laws. ➲ The ordinance is being fast-tracked around the Fresno County Planning Commission, so planners have no ability to provide input. ➲ Heavier fines for growing cannabis than for all other categories of “public nuisance.” ➲ No substantial evidence to support findings of no environmental impact. ➲ County can't enforce existing laws.
  • 70. What's next... ➲ Public comment period for Initial Study 6770 ends on Dec. 27, 2013.
  • 71. What's next... ➲ Public comment period for Initial Study 6770 ends on Dec. 27, 2013. ➲ The staff recommendation to adopt the Negative Declaration will be presented to supervisors on January 7, when the ordinance comes up for a final vote.
  • 72. What's next... ➲ Public comment period for Initial Study 6770 ends on Dec. 27, 2013. ➲ The staff recommendation to adopt the Negative Declaration will be presented to supervisors on January 7, when the ordinance comes up for a final vote. ➲ If passed as expected, the total growing ban takes effect on or about February 7, 2014.
  • 73. What's next... ➲ Public comment period for Initial Study 6770 ends on Dec. 27, 2013. ➲ The staff recommendation to adopt the Negative Declaration will be presented to supervisors on January 7, when the ordinance comes up for a final vote. ➲ If passed as expected, the total growing ban takes effect on or about February 7, 2014. ➲ A legal challenge to the ban is likely.
  • 74. Fresno County cannabis ban: Issues and alternatives Presented by FresnoCannabis.org