Fresno City Council votes to ban recreational marijuana dispensaries

News

A ban on recreational pot shops in Fresno is official but restrictions on growing marijuana plants aren’t as tight as some city leaders want them to be. City Council made those decisions on Thursday, discussing a variety of marijuana-related topics up for debate as City Leaders try to navigate through cannabis in California.

The final decision on recreational marijuana dispensaries.

“Item comes four yes, three no,” said council member Clint Olivier. 

Garry Bredefeld, Steve Brandau, Paul Caprioglio and Luis Chavez all in favor of the pot ban in Fresno.

“These dispensaries are a problem in neighborhoods, they draw crime, affect quality of life,” said Bredefeld.

But several people in the audience made their opinions clear on recreational weed.

“If you guys want us to give our money to other people, that’s fine. If you want us to drive all the way to Madera, fine,” said one resident.

The vote would not have happened if council member Clint Olivier’s proposal to postpone the vote went through. Olivier says the City needs to hear more from consultants on the benefits on commercial cannabis.

“We have dispensaries open in the City of Fresno right now as we speak and we can’t even enforce that so what, now they’re double banned?,” said Olivier.

On another crucial marijuana matter the Council voted 4-3 to reject any more cultivation restrictions proposed by Bredefeld, like detectible odor, plant visibility and limits on lighting usage.

“I think that was a very appropriate restriction to have in place but the council voted against it,” said Bredefeld.

By state law, you can now grow up to six plants in Fresno. Each additional plant will cost you a $1,000 in fines.

Councilman Oliver Baines motioned for his own proposal to allow the growing of medicinal marijuana. It passed but a study would have to be done to determine how many plants a medical user could grow.

“We’re going to bring forward something better that works for neighborhoods and works for sick people who need medicine,” said Olivier.

At one point during the meeting, Baines asked a representative of the Fresno Cannabis Association how many dispensaries are operating in Fresno right now. The rep said there are about 15 shops and around 50 delivery services.

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