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Fresno Bans Recreational Cannabis Sales In City Limits

Joe Moore
Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has passed a ban on recreational marijuana sales and public use in the city. It passed on a 4-3 vote. The ban also extends a prohibition on outdoor cultivation of cannabis. The push for the ban was led by councilmember Garry Bredefeld who represents District 6.

Bredefeld: “Having recreational dispensaries is a problem because it sends a message to our youth that this is ok. And it isn’t ok. I don’t think it’s ok. I don’t think Prop 64 is ok.”

Bredefeld said the ban was necessary because in a few weeks, Prop 64 would effectively allow them in the city, if the council didn’t take action.

But while Bredefeld’s ordinance secured enough votes to pass, and the support of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, it also faced significant opposition. Councilmembers Soria, Baines and Olivier voted against the measure. Olivier proposed his own plan that would have legalized dispensaries, but it failed to get enough support on the council. He said by regulating pot sales, the city could help reduce crime and fulfill the will of the voters who passed Prop 64 last November.

Olivier: “The citizens of Fresno and California have given us the power to regulate cannabis to break the monopoly of criminal gangs on our streets.”

The ban approved by the council on Thursday is considered one of the toughest in the state. As part of the ordinance, the city is required to review the law after one year to consider any possible changes to the ordinance. 

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of KVPR / Valley Public Radio. He has led the station through major programming changes, the launch of KVPR Classical and the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership the station was named California Non-Profit of the Year by Senator Melissa Hurtado (2019), and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting (2022).