Fresno City Council to take final vote on proposed ban on recreational marijuana dispensaries

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Prop 64, legalizing marijuana for recreational use, was passed by California voters and by a majority of Fresno voters. (KFSN)

Fresno City Council President Clint Olivier believes the people have spoken. Prop 64, legalizing marijuana for recreational use, was passed by California voters and by a majority of Fresno voters.

"And so to me the debate is over. Public opinion is very clear, they want their local leaders to craft practical pragmatic intelligent pieces of legislation that will regulate cannabis and take cannabis production out of the hands of criminal gangs and dope dealers."

But to Council Member Garry Bredefeld, Prop 64 was a mistake. But, he notes the law gives cities a choice. He thinks the practical, pragmatic, intelligent thing to do is ban marijuana shops.

"State law allows municipalities to ban or restrict recreational dispensaries; I think it's the right thing to ban them."

Bredefeld believes pot dispensaries will encourage use among young people and lead to problems. But Olivier believes a ban in Fresno makes no sense.

"The fact is the cities around us are going to regulate cannabis dispensaries, regulate cannabis cultivation, and there is going to be a tax revenue benefit to those cities."

Olivier wants the council to hire a consultant to find out what other communities are doing and come up with sensible regulations, not a ban; Bredefeld dismisses that idea.

"He wants to spend $100,000 of taxpayer money to hire a marijuana consultant; I think it's an absurd idea."

Olivier thinks giving the council objective, unbiased information would help.

"I think they are confused, and it would be my hope that, moving forward, they would change their minds, they would get educated and change their minds."

Olivier needs at least one council member to change their mind to stop the measure from becoming law; the debate will continue Thursday.

A few weeks ago Olivier did stop Bredefeld's effort to restrict marijuana cultivation, but Bredefeld is bringing that item back again in a couple of weeks.

Related Topics:
politicsFresno City CouncilmarijuanafresnoFresno
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