HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) --This week, Hanford City Councilmembers directed staff members to start drafting an ordinance that would allow for medical marijuana cultivation facilities in heavy industrial zones. And a municipal code section that would detail the permitting process for them.
When it is all said and done, Hanford City Manager said the staff report will be hundreds of pages long.
"We recognize the road ahead is long and steep, but I think we're up to the challenge," said Darrel Pyle, Hanford City Manager.
The local legislation would clear the way for a Bay Area based medical marijuana company called Purple Heart Patient Center to move into and start growing medical pot inside the 900,000 square foot old Pirelli Tire Factory.
The company plans to hire locally, operate lawfully, and based on their tax plan, generate $14 million a year for the city of Hanford.
But despite those attractive promises, council members decided to hold off on the issue in September, wanting to see more research. Even giving city officials the go-ahead to visit similar medical marijuana facilities in San Jose and Canada.
"We found them to be very impressive facilities, not what we were expecting," said Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever.
Chief Sever said they were scientific, clean, and secure. And believes the trip now gives them a reference point for the kinds of regulations they could put in place to ensure the facilities they allow are just as professional as the ones they toured.
"I think it's going to be an issue that continues to be brought up in almost every community, because as we know as of last Tuesday, it doesn't really matter what I think about the product, it's here legal now."
"There will be forks in the road, and you know we'll ask council, you know, do we need to go left or right with this one? And how tightly do you want to control this particular component of the permit," said Pyle.
City staff should have this city ordinance and code drafted by next summer.
If approved by council members, the City Manager said the earliest the medical marijuana facility would be open for business would be the summer after that.