Medical cannabis patients, caregivers, and advocates are saying better late than never to Fresno City Council’s 5-2 vote to legalize medical dispensaries. Like others across the state, the California city had passed resolutions opting out of the state’s medical and adult-use cannabis industries. But on Thursday, members of City Council, led by Councilman Clint Olivier, approved a set of regulations allowing medical cannabis retail and establishing zoning guidelines for cultivators, distributors, and manufacturers.
Fresno, CA Legalizes Medical Cannabis Industry in Bid to Drive Out Unlicensed Businesses
Yet there are those who say the medical-only plan doesn’t go far enough. Writing in the Fresno Bee, Marek Warszawki, a longtime critic of city council’s position on legal cannabis, says the measure “will do little to curb the well-entrenched black market for cannabis.” Nor, argues Warszawki, will it generate the tax revenue city officials desperately hope it will. Indeed, it will take low tax rates, at least initially, to drive out unlicensed retailers.
And well-entrenched is right. According to one count, Fresno’s cannabis market supports 70 unlicensed dispensaries and 40 delivery services. But city council will let just seven retail dispensaries open in the first nine months while they review license applications to