Pot in California

City of Fresno takes first swing at cannabis regulations. Public forum scheduled

Fresno took an important step Tuesday toward allowing commercial cannabis businesses to eventually set up – and officials hope residents and stakeholders will play a role in shaping its policy.

The city released draft regulations for commercial cannabis businesses, the document which outlines rules for medicinal cannabis storefronts and other marijuana-related businesses.

That includes businesses geared toward cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and testing.

The city will host a public forum to discuss the draft regulations 5-7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 2600 Fresno St.

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“These regulations were put together by members of the subcommittee with help from the city attorney’s office, city department heads as well as an industry consultant,” said Councilman Clint Olivier, who represents District 7 and has advocated for cannabis-friendly policies during his time in office.

“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.”

Don’t expect recreational pot to be readily available on the streets of Fresno anytime soon, however. The policy does not allow for recreational marijuana retail stores.

Under the proposed regulations, the city will allow up to 14 medicinal cannabis retail businesses in the city – one in each council district with the option of one additional business in each district after nine months.

The city will create zoning for “cannabis innovation hubs” up to 100 acres where various cannabis-related businesses may operate. A special cannabis innovation zone will be created, and hubs must be near designated areas near freeways.

No cannabis-related business will be allowed near a school, day care center or youth center. The regulations also say businesses must take measures to prevent odors from becoming a public nuisance.

The city will even require “neighborhood responsibility plans,” emergency contacts and community relation contacts for certain types of businesses.

The regulations have been in the works since December 2017 when the City Council voted unanimously to support legal medicinal cannabis operations in the city limits.

The council in June agreed to allow voters in November to decide whether to tax marijuana products.

If Measure A passes, the city will be able to collect revenue from cannabis operations.

The public comment period will conclude later this fall during a regular City Council meeting where the council will vote on a final draft. The date is to be determined.

Brianna Calix: 559-441-6166, @BriannaCalix