Revised Fresno pot ordinance on its way to final vote

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Barring something dramatic happening, it appears the City of Fresno will welcome its first legal dispensaries later this year.

Just weeks after Mayor Lee Brand struck down Fresno's Pot Ordinance, councilmembers Thursday voted to allow business owners the right to open cannabis operations in the City.

"Instead of overriding the veto we met with the mayor and the police chief and made some minor modifications that they fully support," said Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias.

Among the changes, city leaders agreed to be more in line with the Mayor's recommendations and revised clauses to the ordinance related to security within the pot shops.

"Things like panic buttons will still be required but instead of them going to the police department they'll go to a private security firm so we don't burden our police department services," said Arias.

The revised ordinance will also require dispensaries to keep security video footage for 90 days instead of just a week's worth.

Thursday's vote passed with a 5-2 margin.

Councilmember Mike Karbassi voted against it.

His biggest concern he says is adults who purchase weed legally but then get behind the wheel while under the influence.

"Until we have a breathalyzer test or a swab test that could hold up in court the police rely on field sobriety tests so I'm really concerned about public safety on this matter. If we can address that then I may vote yes on it," Karbassi said.

The Pot Ordinance needs one more vote of approval before it can become effective in 30 days.

The council is expected to meet again on January 30.

"I'm anticipating the same vote we had today which is overwhelming support by this council to adopt the final rules allowing us to stay on schedule and be able to award licenses and have legal cannabis business by this year," said Arias.
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