Medical marijuana patients in Fresno have a big reason to celebrate—the end of medicinal cannabis prohibition within city limits, though recreational users will still need to go elsewhere to procure their pot from a storefront.
On Thursday, the Fresno City Council approved marijuana business regulations that could create a space for two medical marijuana dispensaries within the different council districts. The regulations will also establish hubs that run along two major highways that will be used for commercial endeavors like cultivating, manufacturing and distributing.
One of the supporting councilmen, Clint Oliver, worked for the change in city regulations over grueling months of debate. He told The Fresno Bee that, “It’s important to show Fresno residents that their city officials aren’t burying their heads in the sand and pretending there isn’t an issue.”
And he’s right. Delivery services are popping state-wide, including in Fresno, so medical use isn’t the only issue on the table, it’s simply the issue that was addressed first. Oliver also said that adult use must be discussed at the next meeting of their minds.
A one-two punch might be just what the doctor ordered for Fresno. Experts project that the city could bring in up to $10 million a year with adult use tax revenue. And it’s a natural progression. Sure, it took a long time to get Fresno on board medically, but now that medical is green-lighted, it’s an easier step up to the recreational realm.
On December 6, both medical and adult use were brought up at the council meeting and it turned out to be too much for the majority of players. Proponents gracefully bowed out of pushing adult use as of yet and say they can wait. One member, Luis Chavez, suggested that the council take steps in stages to get to the bigger market of recreational. That medical be addressed first and allowed to become part of the city’s spectrum before making any more moves.
Fresno is a notoriously conservative city, but the residents did vote in favor of legalization for California. The new allowances for medical marijuana dispensaries do come with some caveats. Felons will not be able to open storefronts, nor will those who have been convicted of offenses for substances other than cannabis. All in all, though, it’s a big step forward for Fresno and could very well be the path toward allowing adult use next.