FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — On Thursday Fresno City Council voted 4-3 to increase the number of cannabis dispensary licenses in the city from 14 to 21.
While this opens the door for more tax dollars from marijuana sales, some city councilmembers are saying Fresno needs to start small.
Councilmember Mike Karbassi is on the council’s Cannabis Committee and thinks 21 is too much too soon.
“I just think it’s better for us to get these first 14 off the ground and make sure we do it right,” Karbassi said.
One dispensary seeking to open up in Fresno is Los Angeles-based Tradecraft Farms. Gerry Nickerson who will be part-owner of the Fresno location, feels more stores shows a commitment by the city to the cannabis industry and its potential.
“Expanding to 21, from 14 to 21, is not a big stretch,” Nickerson said. ‘The community will support the stores.”
At Thursday’s council meeting, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce voiced its support for more dispensaries.
“Every dollar that we can shift to the legitimate market is a dollar taken away from the black market,” said Scott Miller who heads the chamber.
Councilmembers Bredefeld and Chavez also voted no with Karbassi. Karbassi says he is concerned there could be disappointed entrepreneurs trying to open in Fresno after this lengthy process.
“I think we’re going to get sued because there are going to be people that think it’s unfair they didn’t get selected,” Karbassi said. “We’ve had some issues getting this started. I’d rather we have a really good foundation to ensure that these businesses are successful and they have the least negative impact on our neighborhoods.”