Fresno councilmembers discuss Cannabis Business Ordinance

Before the City of Fresno can begin granting permits for legal marijuana dispensaries, councilmembers held an open discussion on Thursday about proposed new regulations surrounding Fresno's Cannabis Business Ordinance.

Regulated marijuana shops are still several months away from opening in the city of Fresno.

But councilmembers remain divided on how to regulate the controversial industry.

Modifications that call for the council to have a more significant role when it comes to who can open a weed shop and where were discussed.

That responsibility currently falls on the City Manager and staff.

"Obviously we have a criteria for proximity to schools, churches, community gathering places. That's going to be something very important to me," said councilmember Luis Chavez.

The council also discussed social equity provisions to the ordinance and eliminating barriers for those with prior cannabis convictions

"Those individuals will be allowed to hold any position, from front desk to owner - any part of the business. It's wide open, let the business prevail," said councilmmeber Paul Caprioglio.

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld disagreed.

"People who were convicted of crimes have been convicted of crimes and I don't know why we should put them at the front of the line in terms of having dispensaries. That's the social justice part of this and it's quite insane to me," he said.

There are currently more than a hundred cannabis retailers in Fresno operating unregulated.

The proposed new guidelines call for up to 14 retail businesses in the city -- two per council district -- to set up shop within designated zones

The council is expected to vote on changes to the Cannabis Ordinance on November 7.
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