Fresno’s lengthy cannabis drama is continuing on, with lawmakers opting to appeal the preliminary approval of at least five licenses.

The move offers Fresno residents their first chance to interact with the process of opening pot shops in the city.

Under Fresno’s adult-use cannabis ordinance, only three parties could appeal a preliminary approval for a dispensary license: Mayor Jerry Dyer, the Fresno City Council member whose district would be affected, and the tentative licensee themselves.

While three social equity dispensary licenses were granted early – and have seen their appeal windows close with no request for appeal – 18 of the 21 total licenses faced a Thursday deadline for notices of appeal to be filed.

Heading into Thursday’s appeal deadline, city officials wrestled with issues tied to its cannabis zoning map.

The map, which displays where prospective retailers would be located, also highlights whether an applicant is within a so-called “sensitive use buffer area.”

Cannabis dispensaries are to be no closer than 800 feet from a school, day care facility, or youth center. They also cannot be closer than 800 feet from another cannabis dispensary, per the city’s ordinance.

The 800-foot buffer rule generated its own controversy related to at

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