Fresno City Council votes for ordinance to regulate marijuana, allows recreational sales in city limits

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno City Council voted to move forward with an ordinance that would regulate marijuana, and allow the recreational sales of it in city limits.

However, some council members who voted against it say the ordinance could do more harm than good.

City leaders say along with bringing in millions of dollars, the ordinance will create hundreds of new jobs and require marijuana businesses to hire local residents.

However, some council members say allowing marijuana business in the city is a bad idea and hope the plan goes up in smoke.

Cannabis dispensaries are a step closer to opening their doors in Fresno.

"This will mean that the biggest city in the valley will finally have a regulated cannabis industry," said Council President Miguel Arias.

In a 4-3 vote on Thursday, Councilmembers decided to move forward with the final regulations to allow dispensaries and commercial cannabis businesses in the city.

Miguel Arias says the ordinance will allow 14 retails businesses in the city, and at least two in each district.

They'll also allow 36 commercial licenses.

Arias says regulating marijuana will not only bring in more than 10 million dollars in tax revenue but will also help with public safety.

"We need revenue to be able to pay for police, fire, and improve the neighborhoods, improve sidewalks, and the only way to do that regulates the industry," Arias said, "there's more than 100 illegal dispensaries throughout our city and provide these products customers."

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld, however, voted against the ordinance, calling it a bad move.

"There's also in the ordinance, a social justice element where basically if you want to be a dispensary owner, you have a criminal conviction for marijuana in the past you're going to get a preference...It's idiotic, it's stupid. Why would we want to give people who've had criminal convictions for marijuana? Why would we put them first in line? It makes no sense," said Bredefeld.

Arias says the dispensaries will also have to be at least eight hundred feet from parks, churches, or schools.

The city will now have to assess the environmental impact report and it'll likely be at least six months before they start accepting applications.

Bredefeld is hoping the mayor will follow up on his statements against marijuana business, and he'll have 10 days to veto the ordinance.
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