Fresno needs a cannabis plan, not a ban

Tens of thousands of people use cannabis in Fresno every day. Hundreds of people work in the cannabis industry, though few will admit it publicly – and for good reason. Cannabis business is booming in Fresno and Fresno County, even though cultivation and retail sales are banned by local ordinances. The biggest pipe dream in Fresno is that cannabis bans work. In reality, they don’t.

Even so, the Fresno City Council just voted to prohibit dispensaries and other “recreational” businesses made legal by the passage of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This is disappointing but not surprising. Medical cannabis has been legal since Proposition 215 passed in 1996, but City Hall has never bothered to draft local regulations.

Cases in point: Larry Westerlund, the city’s economic development director, called Proposition 215 an “abortion of a law” as a sitting council member in 2011. The same day,

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