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fresno county cannabis laws

City Manager’s Office

Office of Cannabis Oversight

Office of Cannabis Oversight

Under the direction of the City Manager, the Office of Cannabis Oversight is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the City’s cannabis laws and regulations.

On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana (“AUMA”) Act. This law legalizes nonmedical, recreational marijuana, subject to the regulation of local government jurisdictions in the State of California.

On December 13, 2018, Fresno City Council adopted the Cannabis Retail Business and Commercial Cannabis Business Ordinance, which sets out the permitting framework and regulatory requirements for Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis businesses to operate within the City for commercial activities such as cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution. This ordinance was amended on January 30th, 2020, on June 25th, 2020, and may be further refined by the City Council.

For those interested in cannabis businesses in the City of Fresno, please review the relevant City ordinances:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

(10/21/2020) Applications for Commercial Cannabis Business (CCB) Permits are now available! Please see the “Cannabis Business Information” tab below for more information, the link to the application portal, and the links to view the orientation webinars.

(11/5/2020) If you are interested in the cannabis social equity program please take this brief survey to help us better understand potential barriers to starting your business.

(11/18/2020) Phase I of the Social Equity application process closed on November 13, 2020. There were 47 applications submitted and they are being reviewed for eligibility. Applicants will receive updates through the application portal.

(11/18/2020) ZONING INQUIRY LETTERS (ZIL) – The processing time for ZIL’s are typically 14 business days. However, due to the volume of ZIL requests, this timeframe may be extended. If an applicant does not receive their ZIL response before the submission date of their Cannabis Business Permit application, they may attach the confirmation page showing that they successfully submitted their ZIL request before the 12/04/2020 permit due date. Applicants must also log back into their application and upload their ZIL letter when they receive it, even if it is after the 12/04/2020 date. For questions relating to ZIL requests, please contact [email protected]

  • Key Staff
  • Cannabis Social Equity Program
  • Cannabis Business Information
  • Community Benefit
  • Helpful Resources
  • Health & Safety
  • Contact Us
Key Staff

Jennifer Ruiz
Project Manager

Jennifer Ruiz joined the City of Fresno in April 2020 as a Project Manager. In her role, Ms. Ruiz is leading the development of the cannabis framework for the City, including serving as a primary point of contact for business owners interested in seeking a commercial cannabis business license in the City of Fresno.

She has extensive experience in project management, leadership, and program development. Before joining the City, Ms. Ruiz spent over 6 years as the Chief Executive of a non-profit health organization in Fresno, as well as two years in an elected leadership position in her Native American tribal community. In both prior roles, Ms. Ruiz was instrumental in the growth of organizational grant revenue and the development of key community service programs. She has significant experience in writing and managing federal, state, and local grant programs, managing personnel and developing budgets, as well as preparing for audits and compliance reviews. Ms. Ruiz is a Fresno State alumni, earning a Master of Business Administration degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology.

Ms. Ruiz was born and raised in Clovis, California. She is married with two young daughters. She enjoys reading, playing co-ed recreational soccer with her husband, and watching her daughters, niece, and nephews play sports.

Cannabis Social Equity Program

Section 9-3316(b) of the Fresno Municipal Code (FMC) establishes a cannabis social equity program in the City of Fresno. The purpose of the social equity program is to address the historical impact of federal and state drug enforcement policies on low-income communities.

A minimum of one (and a maximum of two) out of every seven commercial cannabis business permits for cannabis retail businesses will be awarded to an equity applicant. A minimum of one (and a maximum of two) out of every eight commercial cannabis business permits for other commercial cannabis business types will be awarded to an equity applicant.

Qualified social equity applicants will receive the following technical assistance during the application process:

  1. Business Plan Development
  2. Satisfying the Social Policy Requirement (FMC Section Sec. 9-3316(b))
    1. Hosting/Funding Expungement Clinics or related outreach
    2. Crafting an environmentally sustainable business model
  3. Satisfying the Neighborhood Compatibility Requirement (includes Odor Control Plan, Waste Disposal, Nuisance Abatement)
  4. A detailed plan identifying specific business and social goals of your organization, as well as strategies for achieving them.
  5. Assistance securing business locations prior to or during the application process.
  6. Assistance securing capital investments (excluding loans and grants from the City)
  7. Assistance in recruiting, training, and retention of a qualified/diverse workforce.

Additional benefits may be established in the future, including access to business loans and grants, and assistance in paying State licensing fees in accordance with FMC 9-3316(b)(vii).

Cannabis Business Information

The City of Fresno is now accepting applications for Commercial Cannabis Business (CCB) Permits! Applications must be submitted through the application portal here: https://fresnoca.viewpointcloud.com/

View the Application Requirements:

Required Forms:

  • Download the required Indemnification & Hold Harmless Form. (Required as an attachment to your application in the application portal)
  • Download the Ownership Acknowledgement Form. (Required for applicants claiming Social Equity eligibility and/or Local Preference)

View the virtual application orientation meetings:

KEY DATES

  • Applications Available 10/19/2020
  • Social Equity Application Eligibility Documentation Due 11/13/2020
  • Standard CCB Permit Applications Due 12/04/2020

FEES

  • CCB Permit Application Fee: $7,920.00 (waived for Social Equity applicants)
  • CCB Permit Fee: TBD
  • Zoning Inquiry Letter: $522.00
  • *Livescan Background Check: $69.00 per person
  • *Conditional Use Permit: $13,391.00
  • *Business Tax Certificate Application: $14.00

*Not required with the CCB Permit initial application. Do not proceed with these process applications until instructed to do so in Phase IV.

Retail and Commercial Cannabis Business Locations:

The City of Fresno has developed a tool to assist business owners in finding potential business locations that meet the requirements for cannabis zoning. Please select the appropriate link below depending on whether you are interested in looking at potential retail sites or other types of commercial cannabis sites.

In addition to the interactive maps, buffer analysis maps are available in PDF format here:

Community Benefit

The Cannabis Business License Tax ordinance establishes the tax rates for legal cannabis businesses operating in the City of Fresno. Of the revenues generated from the Cannabis Business License Tax, 90% is dedicated to fund unrestricted general revenue purposes, including combating gangs, drug abuse, human trafficking, homelessness, and to fund police, fire, roads, and parks. Ten percent (10%) is set aside for the Community Benefit Fund and shall be used to meet the goals of the fund, which will be established by Council resolution.

Section 7-1404 establishes the Community Benefit Commission consisting of nine (9) members to be appointed by the Mayor and from each Council district. The purpose of the Commission shall be to recommend allocation of the revenues received into the Community Benefit Fund pursuant to the goals set by Council. The Community Benefit Commission has not yet been established. More information about the Commission will be accessible on this page as it becomes available.

City Manager’s Office Office of Cannabis Oversight Office of Cannabis Oversight Under the direction of the City Manager, the Office of Cannabis Oversight is responsible for coordinating the ]]>