Opponents and supporters of a proposed ban on recreational marijuana dispensaries in Fresno attended Monday afternoon's Fresno City Council meeting.
Written by David Castellon
Despite a last-ditch effort by Clint Olivier to convince his fellow Fresno City Council members to reverse course on a proposal to ban dispensaries for recreational marijuana in the city, the ban was approved Monday night in a 4-3 vote.
The city had previously banned dispensaries for medical marijuana, and going into Monday’s extended council meeting – with the matter of the ban proposal scheduled separately for the afternoon – many had expected the vote on recreational dispensaries to go the same way.
But at the start of the meeting, Olivier, the council president, made a surprise move by making a motion to essentially gut the ban proposal and replace it with a directive to city staff to develop and present to the council by November a series of regulations for operating dispensaries in the city.
After hearing comments for and against banning dispensaries from more than 30 members of the public — along with Police Chief Jerry Dyer, who argued that allowing dispensaries in Fresno is a public-safety risk – the council members ended up voting on the original ban proposal.
Council members Esmeralda Soria and Oliver Baines voted with Olivier against the ban, while Steve Brandau, Paul Caprioglio, Luis Chavez and Garry Bredefeld voted in favor of it.
Besides prohibiting dispensaries, the council vote also approved regulations prohibiting people from smoking marijuana in public places, including city parks, buses and buildings owned or leased by the city.
Read more about the vote in the next edition of The Business Journal.