Large-scale marijuana operation has sights set on Hanford, City Council members saying not so fast

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When you hear $14-million, combined with an offer touting hundreds of jobs, it's hard for a city council member not want to hear more. (KFSN)

When you hear $14-million, combined with an offer touting hundreds of jobs, it's hard for a city council member not want to hear more.

"It's an attention grabber, but you have to do your research to make sure it comes to fruition," said Hanford Mayor Justin Mendes.

The pitch comes from the Bay Area company Purple Heart Patient Center. The owner wants to expand his medical marijuana business and found an old tire factory in Hanford's industry park to be a perfect location.

Some neighbors are already welcoming the idea.

"It's real easy for a lot of us to just close off to it and not be educated, but look into it and see how beneficial it has been to folks to have used it," said Shelly Barker, resident.

The proposal is also drawing ire, especially from law enforcement. Kings County Sheriff David Robinson said the city should not overturn its current ban outlawing marijuana dispensaries and manufacturers.

"I'm not opposed to medical marijuana, I'm opposed to the proliferation of it, and the abuse of it. You talk to people who get their medical marijuana for migraine headaches, and that's just ridiculous."

City Council members debated the pros and cons for more than 30 minutes on Tuesday. They agreed that if there were to be a medical marijuana plant the 900,000 square foot space would be a good location. But lots of questions still need to be answered.

"The sheriff brings up a huge point, it's not legal federally. But medical marijuana is legal in California, so how do we balance it," said Mendes.

In the end, council members asked for more time before voting to wait on more research and hear feedback from families already starting to trickle in.

"Maybe you don't agree with it, but it really doesn't matter. You are holding public office, your personal opinion shouldn't matter, it should be what is good for the community," said Barker.

The business owner has set a deadline for when he has to hear back. We're told already other pot growers have shown interest in the land.
Related Topics:
politicshanfordkings countymarijuanamedical marijuanaHanford
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