HANFORD – After months of anticipation, this week is decision time for the Hanford City Council on whether to allow commercial medical marijuana businesses to locate in the city's heavy industrial zone.
Virtually all of the zone is south of Houston Avenue in an industrial, non-residential area.
Several medical marijuana-related businesses have expressed interest in locating in the zone.
The draft ordinance council members are to vote on Wednesday night doesn't allow for any medical marijuana dispensaries in town, so residents hoping to buy such products in Hanford will have to go elsewhere.
The ordinance is expected to be approved.
Citing economic benefits and jobs, a majority of the council has expressed support for moving the process forward.
The ordinance lists detailed security requirements the businesses will have to follow.
The new ordinance also includes a cost-recovery mechanism whereby the businesses coming in will pay for the cost of creating the ordinance and for additional law-enforcement costs to the Hanford Police Department once the facilities start operating in Hanford.
In addition, a majority of the council has expressed support for a special tax measure that will generate revenue for the city from any medical cannabis businesses that come.
The tax, which has to be approved by Hanford voters to take effect, is expected to go on the ballot in November 2018.
The council meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside the Civic Auditorium in Hanford's Civic Park.