FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KSEE) – The mayor and city manager of Fresno have sponsored a city council item that, if approved, would loan a total of $150,000 to help two commercial cannabis businesses in the city – funded by money from the statewide Cannabis Equity Act Grant.

The consent calendar item called “actions pertaining to commercial cannabis activity” is scheduled for April 20. According to the agenda, it would loan two businesses $75,000 each to assist with the start-up retail commercial cannabis business in the City of Fresno.

The two loan agreements included in the Fresno City Council agenda packet are identical (aside from the names of the recipients). Both agreements state that the city agrees to loan the funds, the funds shall not be used “in a manner or for purposes other than the acquisition and development of the project” – and place an agreement that the business be operating within 18 months or the agreement will be terminated.

The agreement also states that the “owner shall repay the Funds to City with no interest.”

In response to a request for comment, the City of Fresno says the funds to support the program is state money. City officials say Fresno was awarded $1,204,934.25 in funding from the State of California Cannabis Equity Act grant in April 2021, giving the City of Fresno the means to offer technical assistance for cannabis social equity applicants and provide business grants and loans.

The Fresno Municipal Code (FMC) requires that an Equity Assistance Program be established to provide assistance to qualified cannabis social equity applicants – including providing business loans and grants.

The proposed agreements can be viewed by clicking here. The item is scheduled to be heard at the April 20 meeting of Fresno City Council.