HANFORD – As expected, the Hanford City Council voted 5-0 Wednesday night in favor of a new ordinance to allow commercial medical marijuana businesses to come to south Hanford.
The vote overturns a previous ordinance that prohibited any commercial marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, production or distribution in the city.
The vote would only allow such businesses to apply for a permit to locate in the city's heavy industrial zone, almost all of which is located in a non-residential area south of Houston Avenue.
The businesses would not be allowed in any other land use zones in the city.
The new ordinance also maintains the city's ban on any medical marijuana dispensaries.
The new ordinance establishes a conditional use permit application process that includes detailed security requirements for such businesses and includes cost-recovery provisions requiring the companies that come in to reimburse the city for additional law enforcement costs associated with policing the facilities.
Several medical cannabis businesses have expressed strong interest in locating in Hanford.
The unanimous vote came after several Hanford residents and others spoke for and against the new ordinance.
"I think our staff did such a good job of showing how we're going to regulate this," said Councilman Justin Mendes.
Mendes said the main attraction is a tax measure Hanford residents will vote in next year to generate revenue for the city from any medical cannabis businesses that come.