FRESNO — Because of several violent incidents involving backyard pot farms, Fresno County Supervisors approved an emergency ban on outdoor medical marijuana gardens at a meeting on Tuesday.
There have been four reports of gunfire at medical marijuana gardens in recent weeks. One incident involved a man being shot and killed during an apparent attempt to steal pot from someone’s backyard. The homeowner accused of shooting the man is facing murder charges.
The ban on backyard marijuana gardens took effect immediately and will last for 45 days while county officials develop a permanent solution.
“This is for the abusers,” said Supervisor Deborah Poochigian. “This is intended as an urgency ordinance for the abusers.”
Supervisor Henry Parea questioned whether the big medical gardens are being grown and used for the right purposes.
“This is a racket,” Parea said. “This is not people using marijuana for medicinal purposes. They have figured out a way to abuse a well-intended law.”
Sheriff Margaret Mims said that deputies will not be going around Fresno County removing marijuana plants at this time. Although she supports the emergency ordinance, she said the county needs to make sure everything is done legally. She cited other cities and counties that have been sued by marijuana growers and made to pay for confiscated plants.
“A lawsuit could be financially severe in Fresno County, so before we take any action we will be sure we’re on solid legal ground,” Mims said.