Fresno is California’s latest big city to open up the floodgates to potential cannabis-related businesses—making it ripe for the picking!
In October 2020, it was announced that the application process to start a Fresno marijuana business was officially open, which caused a stir amongst cannapreneurs and business owners. People rushed to get their applications submitted with dollar signs in their eyes.
Unfortunately, the city of Fresno put a limit on the number of cannabusinesses allowed within city limits. So, if you are a hopeful cannapreneur in Fresno, you’re going to need to wait a bit to see your entrepreneurial dreams come true. However, if you feel that you’d still like to get involved in the popping Fresno marijuana sector, why not be as prepared as possible for when the next phase opens again? As you can imagine, there’s a lot that goes into creating a new business, so you’ll have to do a fair amount of research. But first, start by reading this article to discover how you can make the most of your time and what you’ll need in order to ensure you have all of your i’s dotted and t’s crossed before opening up your lucrative marijuana business in Fresno.
The History of Marijuana in Fresno
Often ridiculed for being ‘behind the times’, Fresno definitely has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to cannabis. In 2018, medical marijuana was finally legalized for processing and sale—a whopping 22 years after residents approved medical cannabis in the state of California. By December of the same year, Fresno’s City Council adopted the Cannabis Retail Business and Commercial Cannabis Business Ordinance—allowing medicinal and recreational cannabis businesses (such as cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and distribution) to finally start operating.
While Fresno is a little late to the party compared to the rest of the bigger cities in California, there is still plenty of room for growth. Like every other city, there are strict rules and regulations you must not only understand but comply with, in order to obtain a marijuana license in California. Let’s take a closer look at the particulars needed in Fresno.
What To Know Before Starting A Business
Fresno has started to slow down the rollout of approved cannabusinesses because of popular demand. So, whether you are hoping to offer cannabis clones for sale, or start a production company, there are a few hurdles you’ll need to overcome along the way. For instance, the city put a cap on the number of business permits approved for each category—14 retail businesses; 16 cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing businesses; and currently an uncapped number of testing laboratories can exist. In December 2020, the city closed the application process for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits. With that said, unless you were among the first to apply for one of these limited licenses, it may be a bit of a wait until you are approved to start your own venture. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your application ready for the next wave of permits! Regulations throughout the state are constantly changing as the marijuana industry continues to thrive, so there’s hope that these will be available sooner than later. To prepare yourself for when the city decides to release more golden tickets, read on for a look at the permit process.
A Glance at the Commercial Cannabis Business Permit Process
While you’ll need to do your own due diligence before applying for a Commercial Cannabis Business Permit, here’s a quick look at what’s required in order to move forward with your business idea. Keep in mind that on top of the required documents, you’ll need a significant amount of capital to get started. For example, opening a dispensary alone can cost you over $1.5 million!
Application Procedures & Guidelines for A Commercial Cannabis Business Permit in Fresno (as of October 19, 2020) *
Because of constantly changing regulations and processes, the following checklist has been taken directly from the City of Fresno and is a quick glance at the necessary application steps (note that this is from their most recent application process). You can also find more details about the steps here and on the city’s website. Please also keep in mind that this procedure may be slightly different for the next round of applications, so it’s imperative that you stay on top of current news and keep checking the city’s website to be sure of what will be required moving forward.
✔ CCB Initial Application.
✔ Evaluation Criteria (Responses to Sections 1-7 of Appendix A).
✔ Proof of Capital (to show that you have enough money to start your business)
✔ Verification of Ownership, a Letter of Intention to Lease, or a Leasing Agreement.
✔ A statement saying you will hire a supervisor and an additional employee within 1 year of opening (each will need to have completed the Cal-OSHA industry outreach course).
✔ A statement saying all information provided is true and correct.
✔ Agreeing that you will not engage, or communicate with, any elected official Planning Commissioner from the City of Fresno.
✔ Business owners, operators, investors, and managers must have a completed criminal history background check.
✔ A zoning inquiry letter from the Planning and Development Department must be submitted.
✔ A deposit and subsequent fees must be submitted:
Application fee: $7,920
Background check fee: $69
The ZVL fee: $522
Once the city is accepting applications again, the next step will be to pay all of the required fees and to submit your application. Then, the city will review and decide whether or not you can open a shiny new cannabusiness in Fresno!
*These steps were taken directly from the city of Fresno website and reflect the requirements of the last application phase. Documents were to be submitted online in PDF form or other approved formats mentioned on the city’s designated portal. All steps and processes are subject to change based on the next rollout.
Make Good Use of The Waiting Period
Although Fresno might not have as many marijuana business openings at this very moment, that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be lucrative possibilities in the near future. If you’re prepared to wait a bit longer to make your dreams of becoming a cannaboss come true, you may just create the next big thing on the Fresno cannabis scene.
When applications are open again, will you be ready? Do you have the right space and building permits prepared? Do you know exactly who you want to partner with along the marijuana supply chain? Do you have a wholesale marijuana plant distributor lined up so that you can produce or sell the best quality products? If you make good use of the current waiting period by organizing yourself and your business, you’ll not only be prepared, you’ll also increase your chances of success. We can’t wait to see your Fresno marijuana business idea come to life—we just know it will be worth the wait!
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