| Posted on Tue, July, 29th 2014 by THCFinder
Growers of indoor and outdoor marijuana crops in unincorporated parts of Riverside County could be fined $10 to $1,000 under an ordinance before the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
Those who cultivate 12 or more plants also would face up to six months in jail if the ordinance offered by Supervisor Kevin Jeffries passes as written. Supervisors this week could set a Sept. 9 public hearing on the ordinance, after which they could vote on the proposed law.
Jeffries, who represents a district stretching from Riverside to Lake Elsinore, is sponsoring the ordinance to crack down on for-profit marijuana fields. More than 200 marijuana grows are in the Mead Valley, Good Hope and Meadowbrook areas of Jeffries’ district, according to county officials.
Authorities say solicitors offer thousands of dollars a month to property owners and renters if they let their backyards be used for growing marijuana.
Permits posted near the crops state the marijuana is being grown for medicinal use. Jeffries said he fears drug cartels are involved, though sheriff’s officials say they have not received specific reports on such activity. The crops increase the risk of crime, create noxious odors and lead to illegal power and water hookups, according to a county staff report on the ordinance.
Jeffries has said he doesn’t want to go after legitimate medical marijuana patients with small crops. Medical marijuana is legal in California, although it remains against federal law and many cities and counties – Riverside County among them – have banned dispensaries.
Technically, the county already outlaws marijuana cultivation. Jeffries’ ordinance would spell that out more clearly and impose $10 fines for anyone found guilty of cultivating six or fewer plants.
Those who grow more than six but fewer than a dozen plants would be subject to a fine not to exceed $200. Anyone who cultivates 12 or more plants would be guilty of a misdemeanor could be fined up to $1,000, face a jail sentence of up to six months or both.
Lanny Swerdlow, a marijuana legalization advocate from Whitewater, said the ordinance is deeply flawed.
“It’s nice that they lowered the fines,” he said. “They claim it’s to stop large-scale grows ... but it stops little teeny (grows) by patients, indoor or outdoor.