Brand’s veto on legalizing pot shops creates $2M budget gap, warns councilmember

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Fresno Mayor Lee Brand will not allow medicinal and recreational marijuana to be sold legally within city limits.

On Monday, Brand vetoed the ordinance that outlines the plan for regulating pot shops. In his veto memo to City Council members, Brand says he believes legal adult-use cannabis sales are inevitable.

“I also believe we have a duty to be transparent and open in how that legislation is brought to constituents.”

RELATED: Brand vetoes sale of legal marijuana in the City of Fresno

Brand is asking the City Council to go back to the drawing board and rethink the idea. He wants to see more transparency in security, policing and social equity.

Councilmember Miguel Arias is hoping one day the City of Fresno will cash in on pot shops.

“The City of Fresno already has several dozen businesses operating,” said Arias. “It’s no secret that recreational marijuana is being used in our city and adult medical use is available.”

Arias says an extra $2 million of tax revenue was built into the city’s 2020 budget in anticipation of recreational and medicinal cannabis businesses operating legally in Fresno.

But fellow Councilmember Garry Bredefeld warns nothing good will come from allowing legal pot shops to operate in Fresno.

“It doesn’t wipe out the black market, it never has and never will,” said Bredefeld.

“It’s all been pushed forward with the promise of pots of gold and monies based on these dispensaries.”

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