HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) --A Bay Area medical marijuana company is ditching its plan to start a massive cultivation facility in Hanford, but the city says it's still moving forward with changing their rules to accommodate those types of businesses.
Oakland's Purple Heart Patient Center had already been making payments on the old Pirelli Tire Factory in Hanford's industrial zone, but the company recently decided to back out of the project.
The old tire factory on Hanford's south side was to be transformed into a massive, state-of-the-art medical marijuana cultivation facility, owned and operated by Purple Heart Patient Center.
But, recently, the Oakland company's owner decided to reevaluate the project for a few reasons.
"With some of the real estate deadlines and the real estate pressures, with some of the uncertainty in the city about moving forward with this project and then ultimately with the decision of not granting permits until November of 2018," Niccolo De Luca with the company explained.
Last fall, the Hanford City Council gave staff direction to move forward with amending the city's municipal code, effectively clearing the way for companies like Purple Heart to start cultivating pot in the city's industrial zone.
But the council later decided they would not begin issuing permits until after the November 2018 general election, when residents are expected to vote on a measure related to how these medical marijuana companies will be taxed.
"And the question was if that tax is to be a general tax, it gives the council the flexibility to spend that on a wide variety of general government uses," Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle explained. "That question can only be asked of the voters in a general election. Our next general election is November of 2018."
Pyle says the city still plans to amend the medical marijuana ordinance and is receiving assistance from an outside company to do so.
"It will provide for indoor cultivation processing, lab testing, and transportation, but no retail dispensaries," he said.
Purple Heart is out, but Pyle says a few other medical marijuana companies have an interest in property along Idaho Avenue.
Some from the recreational side have called too, but Pyle says that's probably not in Hanford's immediate future.
Meanwhile, purple heart, while disappointed about the Hanford deal, says they are hopeful about doing something in the Central Valley.
And Hanford's city manager says, as soon as next week, they could have a proposal that amends the city's ordinance, drafts a tax ballot measure and details the permitting process.