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High Interest as Cannabis Store Sales Begin in Fresno



Customers begin to form a line at The Artist Tree before it opens. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)
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Thirty minutes before its scheduled 10 a.m. opening, the line at The Artist Tree was 50 customers deep. When the doors finally opened a few minutes ahead of time, staffers allowed 20 people in at a time to peruse and purchase the store’s array of cannabis products.

The boutique marijuana retailer in north Fresno was technically the second to open in the city. Hours before, Embarc — in central Fresno — opened its doors to “friends and family.” City Councilman Miguel Arias was the first official customer. Embarc will open to the public on Wednesday.

Shoppers at The Artist Tree browsed products on their own, or with the help of staff. Flowers, gummies, and balms were among the items available.

Embarc owner Lauren Carpenter (in white) shows her product to Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias. (Special to GV Wire)

Customers Happy on First Day

Customers GV Wire spoke with said prices at The Artist Tree, the lowest around $19 for an eighth (of an ounce) of flower, were reasonable.

“Prices are the same anywhere you go, pretty much for the big-name brands you want,” Moody Alsayad, a visitor from Florida, said.

Some of the selection at Embarc, which opened to “friends and family” on Monday. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Jonathan Parsneau of Fresno was the first paying customer at The Artist Tree. He uses marijuana medicinally for epilepsy.

“I’ve always taken medication to try to control it. But marijuana has really helped all my pains with that. So I’m excited. I’m able to just come in, get it done, go home. We’re good to go,” he said.

Parsneau said he would have to drive to Hanford to buy legal marijuana.

Charlie Mouser of Fresno said she is also a medicinal user of cannabis. She was pleased with her first experience at The Artist Tree.

“I love the product of it. I also wanted to come and see if they were hiring,” Mouser said.

Mouser would buy her marijuana in Hanford but didn’t feel comfortable buying on the illicit market.

“I’ve had a couple of friends recommended it to me. I just never felt safe doing anything on the street, just for my personal preference,” she said.

A line of approximately 50 customers waits for The Artist Tree marijuana retailer to open for the first time. (GV Wire/David Taub)

No Credit Cards

After selecting purchases, customers checked out at the sales counter. However, purchases must be made by cash or debit card. Credit card service is not available.

Courtney Caron, co-owner of The Artist Tree, says federal law has not caught up to cannabis retail reality, limiting the choices of credit card processors. Most major banks are not willing to provide services to the industry.

“There are some credit card processors that are considered high risk, and they usually charge between 7% to 11% in order to use those credit card processors. And so at this point in time, utilizing credit cards is a little bit more difficult. So we just do debit transactions,” Caron said.

There is an ATM present in the store.

“No, Crypto, no. Maybe in the future, but not at this time,” Caron said.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email