Documented by Ntsa Iab Vang
What happened: After hearing from dozens of concerned Pinedale residents at their Wednesday meeting, Fresno Planning Commissioners unanimously approved the appeal of a cannabis dispensary permit at 7363 N. Blackstone Ave., blocking it from opening in the neighborhood.
The appeal came after months of opposition from community members who voiced concerns about safety, increased traffic and its proximity to Pinedale Elementary School, which were echoed in a letter from Clovis Unified School District.
A few residents and community members spoke in favor of the dispensary and the benefits it would provide, such as job opportunities and community revitalization.
The location proposed by Embarc is in a strip mall located at Blackstone and Pinedale avenues and met the conditions for approval of a cannabis conditional use permit.
The principal of Pinedale Elementary School, as well as teachers, parents and students attended the meeting. They expressed concerns about “unnecessary risks” and an increased chance of lockdowns.
They said this is the third dispensary they have had to speak out against, and that another is already located a three-minute walk away on Palm Avenue.
City of Fresno staff said that each district is limited to three dispensaries and this would be the third in the district because a previously approved location is relocating.
Commissioner Haley Wagner was absent from this meeting.
Up next: The Fresno Planning Commission will meet again on Sept. 6.