Hanford approves recreational marijuana businesses, including dispensaries

It hasn't been that long since the city of Hanford cleared the way for cannabis businesses to open in its industrial park.

But the marijuana could only be used for medicinal use, and no dispensaries were allowed.

In the fall of 2017, the city awarded permits to a few cannabis companies, but in 2018, one of those companies canceled its plans to call Hanford home, after council members voted against a proposal to get in line with state law and allow both medical and recreational marijuana businesses.

Fast forward to 2019.

This week, the council shifted their position on cannabis, voting to amend city code to allow for both.

This time, they supported a limited number of storefront and delivery dispensaries.

"As the rules went through another iteration, it also included the ability to deliver cannabis door-to-door on the recreational side, medicinal side," said Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle. "And I think that was the final straw that allowed a new council when looking at it from a fresh perspective to say, 'If it's already going to be delivered door to door, what are we trying to prevent?'"

Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle says council voted to allow two delivery dispensaries that would operate out of the industrial park and two storefront dispensaries that would be located in the city's downtown improvement district.

Those storefront dispensaries would be subject to the double business license that all downtown businesses pay, as well as a city cannabis business tax, which was approved by Hanford voters in the form of Measure C last fall.

"I think the citizens wanted it," said Hanford City Councilmember Francisco Ramirez. "And this just goes to show you they're saying, 'Hey, we see people like Woodlake and all these other places-Farmersville. They're capitalizing on cannabis. 'How come we can't?' Because they see that we need much-needed infrastructure, more for public safety, and more for our youth."

Ramirez believes the dispensaries could help revitalize East 7th Street, where many businesses have long sat empty.

As for the industrial park - two companies still have permits.

And right now, there's no limit on the number of cultivators, manufacturers, testers, or distributors that could receive one.

Hanford's new cannabis permit application period could start as soon as next month.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.