California judge temporarily blocks county from destroying marijuana farm’s plants

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

California cannabis growers looking to challenge code enforcement abatement orders in San Luis Obispo County are closely watching a case in which a state judge issued a 30-day stay of execution to 200 marijuana plants at a farm that has been battling local officials for months over the legality of the grow.

Scott Hurshaujer, a San Luis Obispo County cultivator, won the temporary stay from a superior court judge after county officials told him in June his farm “violates county code because it’s in an area where cultivation was recently banned,” the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.

He’s one of more than a dozen local farmers that have lost local code enforcement cases regarding marijuana cultivation, according to the newspaper. County officials have destroyed some of those growers’ plants.

But instead of complying, Hurshaujer sued the county. And last week the judge ordered the county to hold off on “ripping out the plants.”

“We are law-abiding citizens. We only did this because they said it was legal,” Hurshaujer told the Tribune.

The county in 2016 passed an ordinance requiring marijuana growers to register their farms, then passed a much stricter cultivation law in 2017 that banned grows in many areas, including residential.

However, the judge also requested a hearing regarding medical cannabis and gave Hurshaujer until the end of day Aug. 21 to obtain a $50,000 bond to ensure the county could collect the $20,000-plus in fines it has issued to the farmer.

The lawsuit could lead to more from other growers, the Tribune reported.