Fresno City Council narrowly approves recreational pot shops

Local News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Fresno may be the future home to 14 recreational pot shops.

Fresno City Council approved the ordinance in a 4-3 vote on Thursday. It will allow dispensaries to conduct business in all seven districts.

“This is just following through with the demand by the voters of Fresno and the state of California. It’s now our responsibility to regulate the industry,” Councilmember Miguel Arias said.

Councilmembers Mike Karbassi, Garry Bredefeld and Paul Caprioglio opposed the ordinance.

“A lot of my residence, I’ll give you an example, a lot of things they’re concerned about are people that will for example drive while high, and the impact it’s going to have,” Karbassi said.

Miguel Arias said this ordinance is an update to the previous one and has several changes.

“Residents will now be notified when a business applies for a license, so they have plenty of opportunity and more than 60 days to express their concerns,” he said previously the language insinuated residents would not be notified until a license was approved.

The City Manager will approve licenses, but councilmembers will now be able to appeal approved licenses in their districts.

Arias said enhanced security measures are also included.

“It ensures that they have the same technology of camera and they’re connected to camera system of our police department,” he said.

Two shops will be allowed per district. Businesses seeking a license will score more points by pledging to hire people who struggle to get a job — including veterans, those formerly in foster care and convicted criminals.

“I don’t support giving people businesses because they’ve been convicted of crimes,” Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said.

Arias estimated the cannabis industry would bring in $2-million next year. But some are hoping it never gets that far.

“The mayor has clearly said he was never going to support recreational dispensaries. This is all about recreational dispensaries and it is my expectation and I’m calling on the mayor to follow through on his pledge to veto this action,” Bredefeld said.

Arias anticipated they’ll be able to start accepting applications for licenses next summer; that’s also when revenue would start coming in.

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