Fresno City Council Approves Ordinance To License 14 Adult-Use Cannabis Shops

In a meeting on Thursday, November 14, the Fresno City Council voted 4-3 to narrowly approve an amended version of a cannabis business ordinance, allowing licenses to be issued for 14 adult-use cannabis shops; two for each of the city’s seven districts.

Under the new Cannabis Ordinance, the City Manager will be responsible for deciding who to issue a license to as well as where it can be used, though council members may appeal approved licenses in their district.

According to police, there are more currently than 100 unregulated cannabis retailers in Fresno.

Co-sponsor of the ordinance, council member Miguel Arias says that Fresno could reap millions of dollars annually off of adult-use cannabis sales and help fund the police department and other city services.

“As a whole, the city estimates that about $10 million a year would be generated alone,” says Arias. “That equates to about 100 officers we could add to the police force on a daily basis.”

The ordinance also includes an expansion of Fresno’s social equity policy for licensees.

At least one of the first seven retail licenses would be issued via a social equity plan, as would one of the first eight commercial licenses such as those for manufacturing, processing, or testing.

A formal adoption vote for the new ordinance is scheduled to take place on December 5, 2019 though Mayor Lee Brand, who has voiced his opposition to recreational cannabis businesses, has the power to veto the decision.

Should the ordinance pass the formal adoption vote and avoid a veto by the mayor, adult-use cannabis shops could open in Fresno by Summer of 2020.