Fresno Creates Marijuana Equity Fund

The City of Fresno has become the latest to use commercial cannabis as an opportunity to further social justice. On Jan. 28, the City Council voted to establish an equity fund for marijuana business owners who have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.

City Manager Thomas Esqueda said the fund will be similar to the Small Business Administration. It will provide support to cannabis entrepreneurs whose shops are in disadvantaged communities, as well as business owners who were previously convicted of a marijuana-related crime. Additionally, between two and four of the city’s 16 available retail permits would go to equity applicants. Similar equity programs are in place in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

Council Members Garry Bredefeld and Mike Karbassi voted against the equity fund.

“I don’t support programs like this. I think they, in some sense, discriminate against other people who don’t have convictions, who have never been arrested,” Bredefeld said.

Read more from the Fresno Bee.