Fresno City Attorney Douglas T. Sloan presents the City Council in June a set of possible rules being developed to permit cannabis businesses in the city. In November, Fresno voters will decide whether to approve tax rates on cannabis businesses.
Written by Gabriel Dillard
A Fresno City Council committee has released a draft of proposed regulations on the sale of cannabis, giving the public a chance to weigh in.
The draft regulations will permit the licensing of 21 medicinal cannabis dispensaries in Fresno — seven the first year, seven more after nine months and seven the third year, with the approval of the city manager.
The regulations do not include potential licenses for adult-use “recreational” dispensaries or delivery services. Medicinal delivery service licenses will be tied to brick-and-mortar dispensaries.
Dispensary licenses will be allocated by council district “to foster the even distribution” of marijuana dispensaries, according to a fact sheet from the Sub-Committee on Cannabis, which includes Councilmembers Clint Olivier, Oliver Baines and Paul Caprioglio.
The dispensaries, which must also be licensed by the state, will be able to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and must be located at least 800 feet from residential parcels, schools, parks and daycare centers.
While recreational dispensaries are not part of these regulations, there will be 10 licenses each for the following activities that may serve the recreational market: cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and testing.
The regulations prohibit the outdoor cultivation of marijuana — as well as in greenhouses — within city limits.
To facilitate cultivation, manufacturing and distribution activities, four cannabis “business hubs” will be permitted in light and heavy industrial districts within one mile of Highway 99 and within one mile of Highway 180 west of Highway 99.
The release of the draft regulations begins a public comment period that will include a Q&A forum on Sept. 17 from 5-7 p.m. at the Fresno City Hall council chambers. The public comment period will conclude with a regularly scheduled council meeting in the fall when the council will vote on adoption of the final draft of regulations.
Feedback can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“These regulations were put together by members of the sub-committee with help from the City Attorney’s Office, City Department Heads, as well as an industry consultant,” said Councilmember Olivier. “We encourage members of the public as well as entrepreneurs in the industry to offer constructive comments to help us improve the regulations for the final draft.”
As part of these cannabis regulations, Fresno voters will also decide if the city should tax cannabis products as part of “Measure A” in the November election.
“The tax needs to be in place if the city is to collect revenue to administer a successful cannabis program,” according to the fact sheet.
The city must also complete the land use element of the legalization of cannabis, which requires proper zoning. That requires an environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act — a process that could take six months from the time of initiation. The process has yet to be initiated, according to the fact sheet.