Embarc is Fresno's first cannabis dispensary, opening in July of 2022 at Blackstone and Gettysburg Avenues.

If you are interested in participating in local government, influencing city spending and bringing new ideas to the table, a position on the City of Fresno’s Community Benefit Commission might be right for you. 

This commission will give you the opportunity to influence how the city spends taxes it collects from the sale of cannabis.

Nine seats of the City of Fresno’s Community Benefit Commission are vacant and ready to be filled for the first time.

How do boards, committees and commissions work in Fresno?

In the city of Fresno, a myriad of boards, committees and commissions are a way to provide feedback and guidance to the city on a variety of issues such as police reform, transportation and housing. Boards encourage public engagement, providing another opportunity for people to share their opinions on how local government should work.

What is the Community Benefit Commission?

The Community Benefit Commission was instituted in 2018 with the passage of Measure A which created a cannabis business license tax for commercial cannabis businesses and medical dispensaries in Fresno. These businesses are taxed, based on their revenue and how many square feet of live cannabis production they possess. 

While 90% of the revenue from the tax is deposited into the city’s General Fund to be used for unrestricted purposes, the other 10% is deposited into the Community Benefit Fund, to be overseen by the Community Benefit Commission. As of an update delivered by city staff in February, the money in the fund this fiscal year is expected to be $2,113,100. 

What does the Community Benefit Commission do?

Members of this commission recommend potential uses of the Community Benefit Fund to the Fresno City Council based on the council’s goals, but the council has the final say on how money in the fund is sent. According to Sontaya Rose, the city of Fresno’s director of communications, the council’s current goals for the fund usage include: improving social equity in economic development, health, and transportation needs, funding public safety and community beautification efforts near commercial cannabis businesses and low-income areas, as well as expanding youth development programs.

Am I eligible for a seat on the commission?

According to Rose, Fresno residents, who do not work for the city or have conflicts of interest, are eligible for a seat on the commission.  A conflict of interest may be present if the potential candidate or a member of their immediate family has financial or professional interests that could be impacted by decisions this commission makes. 

How do I join the commission?

If you want to serve on the Community Benefit Commission, you can apply for a seat using this application.  There is currently no deadline for applications.

During the application process, you will be asked for details such as your contact information, home address, educational background and work history. Be prepared to provide three personal or professional references. 

This application also includes short-form questions, where you have to briefly explain your qualifications for serving on the commission and why you are interested in having a seat. 

Of the nine seats open on the Community Benefit Commission, seven seats will be filled by representatives of the seven districts of Fresno, with the remaining two seats selected by the mayor. Term lengths and limits for commission members still need to be set.

For more information about how to apply for a spot on the City of Fresno’s boards and commissions, contact the City Clerk’s Office at (559) 621-7650

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