On Tuesday, the Hanford City Council is to decide whether to pull back on allowing marijuana to be grown commercially in buildings in Hanford.
The Council voted last July to allow medical marijuana to be grown commercially here, but because of changes in state law, is now to consider whether to allow marijuana grown for recreational use to be grown here.
We think they should vote yes, and here's why.
The Hanford City Council spent a lot of time last year examining the pros and cons of allowing up to three companies that grow medical marijuana to set up shop in Hanford. The Council even sent city representatives - including the police chief - to see how one of the companies handles existing operations at a plant in the Bay Area. Police Chief Parker Sever returned to report that the operation is well run.
That dispelled some of the worry about safety and crime, but the Council added a rigorous application process, more permits and rules and regulations to ensure companies kept operations clean and safe.
After having concerns allayed, the Council looked at the positive things that commercial marijuana growing might bring here.
One or the pluses is that long-vacant industrial property would be put to use.
Another plus is jobs. Local people would have a chance at some jobs that pay well but don’t require a college degree.
Then there is the increase in taxes. The sale of empty property means higher property taxes coming in. People with jobs likely mean more sales tax. Then there is the tax that Council is putting before voters that would apply to marijuana growing businesses. All of that means the city could look forward to extra income that could be used for a wide variety of needs.
Then, the state changed the rules in midstream. The state essentially made it impossible for the companies to succeed unless they changed to include growing marijuana for recreational use.
That meant that if a company wanted to locate here, the Hanford City Council would need to extend approval to include growing cannabis for recreational use.
The only thing that has changed in this scenario is where the marijuana might be sold and who might buy it.
It won't be sold here - the city did not lift its ban on sales in the city. There won't be more commercial growers locating here (the Council decided to allow only three). The permits and regulations the city has put in place won't change.
Growing operations will still be conducted under the same standards as before. People here can still look forward to good jobs. The city can look forward to an infusion of money from new businesses.
Given that the Council approved commercial marijuana growers last year, we see no good reason not to allow them to grow for both medical and recreational markets now.
We urge the Council to vote yes on allowing commercial growers to move forward with their plans to locate here.