Bay Area medical marijuana dispensary eyes Hanford for large cultivation facility

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An Oakland-based company says they want to rejuvenate the 900,000 square-foot space and create an economic center-- by growing pot. (KFSN)

It's been more than a decade since Pirelli tire factory in south Hanford closed. The property has changed hands since then, and there are still a couple of tenants in the warehouse.

But an Oakland-based medical marijuana company says they want to rejuvenate the 900,000 square-foot space and create an economic center-- by moving in and growing pot. But first, they'll have to convince councilmembers to reverse their ban on medical marijuana cultivation in city limits.

City Manager Darrel Pyle says the formal request from Purple Heart Patient Center comes on the heels of new state legislation that gives some structure to the 20-year-old medical marijuana industry in California.

"This operator followed that legislation very closely and as the rules for operation are becoming codified and solidified, he went out and looked for an opportunity to expand his operation," Pyle said.

And Purple Heart's owner, Keith Stephenson, says he found that opportunity in Hanford.

Stephenson says his proposed project would create more than 1,000 jobs. He also promises to hire locally, and pay employees a living wage ranging from $15 an hour up to $100,000 a year salaries for senior management.

"I think job creation is always a plus, this industry has been around for a long time," Pyle said. "It hasn't been around visibly in the San Joaquin Valley. It's much more visible up in Northern California and down in Southern California."

Stephenson also says the city would get a cut of the pie, meaning $25 dollars for every pound of pot produced.

"I don't think we should look at it as this is going to rescue the community financially," Hanford resident Zain Rashada said. "It shouldn't be looked at that way. It should be looked at scientifically and for its medical benefits."

Hanford city councilmembers will take up the request to amend the ordinance at Tuesday night's meeting which starts at 7 p.m.

View the letter from Purple Heart's owner here, on the last three pages of the meeting agenda packet.
Related Topics:
societymedical marijuanahanfordkings countyconstructionHanford
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