2 cannabis businesses overcome appeals, but Fresno City Council rejects Chinatown dispensary

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two new cannabis businesses won approval from the Fresno City Council Wednesday, but they rejected one in Chinatown because of concerns about its location.

Former Fresno State pitcher Matt Garza overcame an appeal to get his cannabis dispensary back on track.

But the proposed Chinatown business struck out because of concerns about a huge housing development across the street.

A long and complicated application process landed High Speed Healing preliminary approval for its business on F Street in Chinatown.

Their celebration didn't last long.

Councilmember Miguel Arias appealed the approval.

He says he's uncomfortable because the cannabis dispensary would be right across the street from The Monarch, a $40 million dollar affordable housing project.

"Your application is strong," Arias told the owners. "Your character is definitely strong as local property and business owners, I can appreciate what you guys have done. But ultimately, I have to look at location."

Owner Renatta Carter-Ford tried to change his mind.

"Our facility is going to be designed to be discreet and we do try to maintain a safe boundary," she said.

Ultimately, the application failed.

On the flip side, Authentic 559 overcame an appeal.

They touted their large parking lot and heavy security for the store on Ashlan, just off Highway 99.

"It's tucked away from other businesses and residences, meaning that we're not going to have a negative effect on the surrounding community," said Tak Soto, Authentic 559 president.

The next step for approved cannabis businesses is to submit for a conditional use permit.

The Authentic 559 president said they'll submit their CUP application in about a month.

So far, only 11 of 26 approved businesses have submitted theirs and the city has only approved one.

Former Major League Baseball star Matt Garza is a majority owner at Authentic 559 and a part owner at Beyond Rooted, which also won its appeal Wednesday in front of an audience of supporters.

"The American dream is still alive in Fresno, California," said Robert Pena, whose nephew Isaac Fonseca is the Beyond Rooted majority owner.

The first cannabis businesses in Fresno could open this spring.

But the city manager said that after Wednesday, the city won't award any new licenses until they address some of the concerns raised along the way.

At least two applicants have sued the city for rejecting their applications.
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