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WP: ‘Social equity’: Fresno’s West Side lost in the war on drugs, and now it hopes a revival will be


FRESNO, Calif. — The West Side loses, often.

It lost to the city’s wealthy north in the competition for school funds. It lost businesses to more stable neighborhoods. It lost children to prison and gangs, including Kayla and Aaron Foster, siblings killed four years apart in an intimate block-by-block war financed by the drug trade.

Now the neighborhood is looking to an element of that war for its revival. The community wants one of its own to receive permission to sell marijuana, a drug the young foot soldiers from the Fresno Hoover gang such as Aaron Foster fought to sell along its streets.

The competition for lucrative retail licenses has been fierce since California voters decided in 2016 to make marijuana legal for recreational use. But Fresno is behind the curve when it comes to cannabis, making it a contested front in the push to ensure the benefits of legal marijuana accrue to those who suffered most in the war on drugs.