Fresno Leaders Nix Marijuana Dispensary Near Elementary School

Fresno city leaders have denied a permit to cannabis retailer Cookies Lemonnade for a dispensary near Pinedale Elementary School that was initially approved by the city manager. The denial came during an appeal hearing on Oct. 27. The vote was 7-0.

Pinedale Elementary Principal Debra Bolls and Clovis Unified School District Superintendent Eimear O'Brien both spoke in opposition to the dispensary at the meeting.

"If you allow this facility to open on Minarets and Blackstone, what you're saying to our community is our kids do not matter," said Bolls.

O’Brien argued the shop would violate the law, which requires cannabis businesses to be at least 800 feet from schools. The company had argued it could keep its shop far enough away because the location is on an empty lot. Councilman Mike Karbassi, who introduced the motion to deny, said there was no way to get around the location’s close proximity to the school.

The city council approved a permit for a separate location for the same company. Cookies Lemmonade’s approved dispensary will be located in the Tower District at East Fern and North Wishon Avenues.

Three other permits were also denied at the meeting. These include a permit for The Artist Tree on Van Ness in the Tower District, Haven on West Olive and North Vagedes, and Public on East Olive and Poplar Avenue.

After the appeals, Fresno will be left with a total of 17 approved marijuana shops.