California County Coming After Pot Farms

Sacramento County supervisors are continuing their efforts to rein in the growing cannabis industry in California. This time, lawmakers are coming after pot farms. As Reuters reports, they are justifying their actions by indicating that a “huge number of complaints were received last year from residents with regard to outdoor marijuana cultivation.” hemp-969266-m.jpg

The fact that lawmakers also considered banning indoor cultivation of marijuana, however, reveals that their concerns may not actually be protecting public safety but trying to find ways to restrict the rights of individuals who are part of the medical marijuana industry in California. Despite the fact that medical marijuana has been legal for use for two decades, Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers know that there are some opponents who will do everything possible to interfere with this industry. The actions of the Sacramento County supervisors may be just one more example of this type of behavior.

Sacramento County Supervisors Targeting Pot Farms

Sacramento County Supervisors indicate that marijuana fields are springing up next to high schools and in abandoned barns, which has prompted them to declare pot gardens a public nuisance. By declaring the growth of cannabis to be a public nuisance, it will then be possible for the county to ban marijuana gardens.

Since medical marijuana use is legal but recreational use is not, state laws aren’t very clear on who can grow and sell the drug. The result has been a chaotic and largely unregulated market of cannabis farms and dispensaries, with cities and counties struggling to impose order on a piecemeal basis. Unfortunately, some of the laws, like Sacramento County’s, may interfere with the rights of legitimate medical marijuana patients to grow cannabis for use in treating their ailments.

Sacramento County’s plan to declare pot gardens a public nuisance would apply not just to areas in the city of Sacramento but also to unincorporated areas outside of the city, many of which have large lots and are in semi-rural areas. This seriously curtails the rights of people in and around the Sacramento area to utilize their property to grow plants that they may need or that they may wish to provide to those who are sick.

The County Supervisor, in addition to claiming that there have been numerous complaints, also cites fear of violence as a result of outdoor cannabis fields. Owners allegedly use dogs and weapons to guard the fields, and 10 slayings that are being prosecuted in the county have supposedly been linked to the attempted theft of marijuana.

If it is true that the marijuana fields are legitimately prompting complaints and causing violence, then this may be justification for Sacramento to take action. However, the fact that the board was considering a ban on indoor cultivation of marijuana does call their motives into question. That proposal had to be tabled because the board wanted a study of whether this would infringe on the rights of medical cannabis patients. The board did, however, unanimously signal its intend to approve the ordinance to ban the growth of marijuana plants outside. The ordinance comes up for a final vote on May 13.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

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Lawmakers Debate Tighter Marijuana Laws – In Colorado Too!, February 19, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog

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