The timeline for the adoption of legal cannabis in Fresno has never been fast.
It took two years after the statewide passage of Prop. 64 in 2016 for voters in the city to pass a cannabis tax measure and pave the way for cannabis sales. It would be another two years before the city would amend its ordinances to allow for recreational cannabis sales and another year to process applications and start awarding cannabis licenses.
At the time, Fresno was the largest California city without recreational, brick-and-mortar dispensaries.
Even now, more than a year after preliminary licenses were given to 19 businesses across the city, only two cannabis shops are open and operating, leaving a major gap in the expected tax revenue from cannabis sales.
The shortfall could be as high as $3 million in 2023, according to an update from city staff given at a city council meeting last month. The adopted budget for this year put cannabis revenues (taxes and fees) at $5.37 million, according to the city.
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