Education · Fresno

School Daze: Is another proposed pot shop too close to a Fresno school?

Fresno cannabis retailers are not allowed to be within 800 feet of a school. But, what happens when Fresno Unified’s signature alternative education campus will be built within 800 feet of a retailer?

That is the situation facing Fresno Farms, which was one of 21 applicants granted a preliminary permit. Its location at 3849 E. Ventura Avenue is within 800 feet of the planned Francine and Murray Farber Educational Campus at the southwest corner of Ventura Avenue and 10th Street.

The nearly 13-acre campus is on the site of the former “Hall of Shame” juvenile detention center that Fresno Unified purchased from the county in 2018. Besides classrooms, the campus will feature a library, student union, community center, 350-seat cafeteria, and an early education center for the children of parents attending the school.

One school board member doesn’t want Fresno Farms to open.

“We haven’t even opened (the school) yet, and they’re already trying to sabotage the area,” Fresno Unified Trustee Keshia Thomas said.

When the school is built — an August 2023 opening — city officials told Fresno Farms they would have to shut down. Cannabis business permits must be renewed yearly.

Thomas is strongly opposed to the Fresno Farms license.

“I’m very upset because it seems that people try to take advantage of areas that are low income to see how much they can get away with. And it’s bad enough that we’re trying to keep our kids safe and free of drugs or bad influences. But they want to put one right in the neck of the woods where they basically walk down the street and get whatever they need.”

Thomas plans to contact city council members to express her concern.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.