FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE)- The city of Fresno reports five prospective cannabis dispensaries in the city have had their licenses appealed by city councilmembers.

This is all part of a lengthy process for these dispensaries where Fresno city councilmembers can appeal any licenses that are awarded.

The Artist Tree dispensary is set to open a location in North Fresno and a second in Van Ness Village in the Tower District. The license of the Tower District location is the one that is having its license appealed by city councilmember Esmeralda Soria. One of The Artist Tree’s co-owners and founders says her team has been preparing for months.  

“We wanted more information about the reason behind the appeal and the only information we were given was that Councilwoman Soria wanted to give the public a chance to have input on the process,” said co-owner Lauren Fontein.  

The Artist Tree was founded in West Hollywood in 2018 and has opened up other locations in Los Angeles. It is a unique setup that features a full-fledged dispensary and art gallery that showcases local artists to sell their work. This is something Fontein says her team is already preparing to do in their Fresno locations to help promote Fresno artists. She says this will mesh particularly well with the location of The Artist Tree’s Tower District storefront.

“We held a community event there and an art show,” Fontein said. “And so we’ve gotten a lot of really positive feedback, and community members are excited about having something new.”

Fontein and the five other dispensaries will face a city council hearing on Oct. 27 on whether they will keep their license. She says she feels optimistic and not overly worried, but puzzled.

“We’re really confused and surprised and I wish we had more of a sense. There’s nothing on the face like a school nearby.”

City regulation says dispensaries can’t be opened up within 800 feet of a school, something one Fresno unified board members says she will be vocal about.

“My plan is to write a letter to city council, to write a letter to the mayor’s office, and to make sure people know how unhappy I am about this,” said Fresno Unified trustee, Keisha Thomas. “And then to go out to the public and make sure that I canvas for what’s right for our kids.”