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.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

The application requirements and link to the electronic application portal for Cannabis Business Permits will be available after the City Council approves the application fee. The City Council is expected to consider the application fee on October 15, 2020.

Tentative key dates include:

  • 10/19/2020 – Cannabis Business Permit applications and procedures will be available on this website on or before this date.
  • 10/20/2020 at 1:00 pm – An Orientation will be held via Zoom for the Cannabis Business Permit application process. (pre-registration required)
  • 10/21/2020 at 1:00 pm — An Orientation will be held via Zoom for the Cannabis Business Permit Social Equity (SE) application process. (pre-registration required)
  • 11/13/2020 – Cannabis Business Permit Social Equity eligibility criteria due by 4:00 pm. (Technical assistance will be provided to eligible applicants to complete the remaining application materials)
  • 12/04/2020 – Cannabis Business Permit applications are due by 4:00 pm.

See below for the links to register for the orientation meetings:

*Participation is not required. Recorded meetings will be available on the website.

When: October 20, 2020, 01:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) 

Topic: Cannabis Business Permit Application Process Orientation

Register in advance for this webinar

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

When: October 21, 2020, 01:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) 

Topic: Cannabis Business Social Equity Permit Application Process Orientation

Register in advance for this webinar

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Key Staff

Jennifer Ruiz

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

The City of Fresno is developing a social equity assistance program as part of its cannabis regulatory framework. The purpose of the social equity program is to address the historical impact of federal and state drug enforcement policies on low-income communities. If you are a business owner that is interested in the social equity program, please review section 9-3316 of the City of Fresno Cannabis Retail Business and Commercial Cannabis Business ordinance for the qualifications. The application and procedures for social equity applicants will be released at the same time as the non-social equity applications and will be available on this website.

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.

Per the current ordinance, an Equity Assistance Program shall be established by the City Manager once funding becomes available. The program shall be contingent upon Council approval, and shall include, but not be limited to, the following elements:

  1. Assistance in paying state regulatory and licensing fees;
  2. Assistance securing business locations prior to or during the application process;
  3. Assistance securing capital investments (excluding loans and grants from the City)
  4. Assistance in recruiting, training, and retention of a qualified/diverse workforce;
  5. Business loans and/or grants to equity applicants.

Cannabis Business Information

The City of Fresno does not yet have applications for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits available. The application and procedures are currently in development. We estimate that the application will be available in September 2020. It will be accessible on this page when it is available.

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.

Cannabis Retail PDF Map
Commercial Cannabis PDF Map

Commercial Cannabis Locator Interactive Map
Retail Cannabis Locator Interactive Map

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.

Health & Safety

While many Californians choose to consume legal cannabis in various forms for personal use, the City of Fresno wants to ensure that its citizens have resources and information to make informed decisions about their cannabis use. Please visit the following sites for more information about the health risks of cannabis:

Health Effects

Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know

Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch

Let’s Talk Cannabis Videos

Contact Us

Office Of Cannabis Oversight COntact

Phone: (559) 621-5555
Email: Cannabis.regs@fresno.gov

Address:
City of Fresno – Office of the City Manager
Office of Cannabis Oversight
2600 Fresno Street
Fresno, California 93721