Cannabis · Fresno

Three more proposed pot shops up for appeal in Fresno

Three months after the Fresno City Council appealed four cannabis dispensaries that were granted preliminary approval from the city manager’s office, three of the replacements are also up for appeal. 

October’s proceedings kicked out one dispensary in District 1, another one in District 2 and two in District 3. 

In District 2, the city manager’s office selected Embarc Fresno as a replacement, which will move forward safely since Councilman Mike Karbassi has not filed an appeal. 

Embarc Fresno will be located at 1784 W. Shaw Ave., located just east of West. Ave. 

The dispensary initially placed third in the city’s scoring process after the Phase III interview round and replaces second-place Cookies/Lemonnade, which was appealed due to its proximity to Pinedale Elementary School.

But Council members Miguel Arias and Esmeralda Soria are asking to take another look at the replacements in their districts. 

Authentic 559 won approval in District 1 but has been appealed by Soria, while Arias is appealing High Speed Healing and Beyond Rooted 559 in District 3. 

The city has not yet scheduled the public hearing for the appeals, but sources tell The Sun that the hearing is tabbed for Wednesday, Feb. 16.

The October hearing warranted a whole hearing day for the previous appeals, holding the hearing outside of the regularly scheduled council meetings. 

Authentic 559 is notable for being owned by former Major League Baseball pitcher and Fresno State Bulldog Matt Garza. 

Garza is listed as a 51 percent majority owner and is a partner with the Shryne Group, which could be the root of potential problems in the appeal. 

Former Shryne Group CEO Brian Mitchell is facing felony charges in an Alameda County court for conspiracy to commit a crime, insurance fraud and workers’ compensation fraud for his involvement with a Bay Area painting and construction company. 

Although Mitchell resigned from the Shryne Group and is no longer involved with Authentic 559, Fresno city ordinance does not allow for dispensaries to be owned by people who have such felony convictions. 

That could be problematic for Authentic 559 since the city does not consider ownership changes – such as Mitchell’s removal – until the application renewal process. 

Authentic 559 will be located at 4248 W. Ashlan Ave., located just west of Highway 99. 

Garza is also a minority owner with Beyond Rooted (505-507 N. Fulton St.), partnering with his cousin Isaac Fonseca in the social equity dispensary. 

High Speed Healing (1142 F St.) was also awarded a license as a social equity applicant. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.