Marijuana ban lights up Council chamber, weed advocates

After a few hours of puffing, the ban eventually passed. George Hostetter dives into the cloud of Thursday’s debate.


The Fresno City Council on Thursday banned marijuana dispensaries on a 4-3 vote.


Council Members Garry Bredefeld, Steve Brandau, Luis Chavez and Paul Caprioglio were on the winning side.

Full disclosure: I got this information from Bredefeld in a phone conversation on Thursday night. Thank you, Garry.

“I’m very pleased about it,” Bredefeld told me, referring to the council majority’s decision. “That was absolutely the right decision to make. I’m very concerned about the message that Proposition 64 sends to our young people. It’s a terrible message.”

California voters passed Proposition 64 last November. The proposition legalizes the recreational use of marijuana for people at least 21 years of age. Local governments have the authority to ban marijuana dispensaries from their jurisdictions.

Bredefeld thinks there’s no upside to recreational marijuana. I think he’s right. (The issue here isn’t medical marijuana.)

Thursday’s hearing on the fate of recreational marijuana dispensaries was scheduled for 4 p.m. I got to City Hall at about 4:20. People in the audience were already trooping to the public microphone to give their side of the argument for a maximum of two minutes.

I sat on a bench outside the Council Chamber. I could hear the comments through City Hall’s PA system.

I gave up the ghost shortly before 6 p.m. People were still speaking. I decided I’d rather walk the nearly seven miles to my home in the scorching early evening heat than continue listening to the pro-recreational marijuana arguments.

City Hall was full of camera crews. Reporters did plenty of interviews with marijuana advocates near my bench.

One of the advocates was a woman who told the reporter/camera operator that she helped run a marijuana mail-order business. She said Fresno would be foolish to ban recreational marijuana dispensaries.

She had many reasons for this judgment. For example, she said, the use of recreational marijuana helps young people deal with the stress of tuition insecurity.

I suffered from tuition insecurity as a young man. My solution: A couple of years in the Army and the G.I. Bill.

Sun stroke was a better option than sticking around that woman.

  1. George, ultimately this will be as meaningless as the medical marijuana dispensary ban that’s been in place for several years. From postings I’ve seen on Facebook there’s at least one operating in the Tower District. Colin Hoggard from Channel 30 also knows about it and isn’t too concerned about it. Seemingly the City isn’t either. Why pass laws when, in the final analysis, you have no intention of enforcing them? You just create outlaws for no reason.

  2. According to Marek from The Bee, there are at least eight dispensaries and 40 delivery services operating in the city at the moment. Why did the council bother with this nonsense?

  3. They pass the laws at the behest of the police. Police can use the law to seize assets of an illegal dealer, which is what they like to do.

    The the police dealers like Keith Foster can sell the drugs. Win-win. Get it?

  4. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    George, you don’t like Marijuana? Let me give you and Garry Bredefeld some advice…don’t smoke Marijuana.

    See how easy that was? No problem.

    You sanctimonious Bible waving fascists are a threat to the liberty of the good men and women of the City of Fresno. I hope the lord takes care of you.

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