By Ngaio Bealum

I hear the activists in Fresno are fighting against the indoor and outdoor cultivation bans. What are their plans?

Ray Zen

You are correct. The medical marijuana community in Fresno, led by the Fresno Cannabis Association (, is attacking the ban on two fronts.

48hillsngaioThe first one:  The group is suing to overturn the ban because the city of Fresno did not file an Environmental Impact Report before implementing the ban.  They kind of have a point, but I am not sure how successful this lawsuit will be. But maybe they can get a preliminary injunction and tie this thing up in court for a few years while the lawyers hammer out a deal.

A second, and more interesting, lawsuit has been filed against the City of Fresno by the American Civil Liberties Union. You heard me: the frikkin’ ACLU!  These guys are the big guns. The ACLU’s argument is that these total bans on growing medical cannabis go against California state law. Prop. 215 and SB420 allow qualified patients to grow their own marijuana without fear of criminal penalties.

And since the Fresno ban contains criminal penalties for people that continue to grow medical cannabis, Fresno is in direct violation of state law. I think the ACLU  has a good case.

The problem I have with Fresno and all the other cities and counties trying to ban medical marijuana growing is: It doesn’t work. Prohibition never works.  I know I say this in just about every other column, but it’s still true. This is America. We do what we want. It is smarter to have reasonable regulations than to attempt the impossible.

Keeping people from growing a plant that helps them stay healthy is more than a sisyphean task; it can’t be done.  Fresno has already banned medical marijuana collectives, and with a ban on growing, how are patients going to get good medicine?  Drive to Sacramento?  Go to LA?  Move to Stockton? Hah! Say hello to your friendly neighborhood underground pot dealer.

All that being said, this is going to take a lot of time, effort, and money. The FCA is throwing a fundraiser on June 8th at Full Circle Brewery in Downtown Fresno. There will be music, comedy (I will be there), a raffle, and much entertainment. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, please make a donation. If the FCA and the ACLU can win their lawsuits, other activists can use those results to overturn bans in their respective cities and counties. We are all in this together.

Correction: In my last column about cannabis-infused edibles, I mistakenly stated that Tainted brand edibles were made in a home kitchen. I have been informed by Mickey Martin that Tainted edibles are made in an awesome 9,000-square-foot commercial kitchen. My bad.

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