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HANFORD — An Oakland-based business is asking the Hanford City Council to consider allowing an “indoor medicinal cannabis cultivation site” in the city.

Keith Stephenson, owner of the Purple Heart Patient Center, sent a letter to the city Monday asking city officials to amend an existing ordinance that prohibits the cultivation of medical marijuana, as well as medical marijuana collectives and dispensaries.

The City Council will discuss the proposed ordinance change on Tuesday.

The letter identifies the former Pirelli Tire Co. plant and an adjacent parcel as an ideal location for an indoor marijuana cultivation facility. The plant, located in the Hanford Business Park at Idaho and 11th avenues, has been closed since 2000.

Stephenson says the project would “rejuvenate” the long-vacant properties and create 1,115 full-time jobs. According to the letter, those jobs would start at $15 per hour, with senior managers making as much as $80,000 to $100,000 per year. Stephenson is also proposing a tax of $25 per pound of cultivated medical cannabis, which he claims would provide the city with $14 million per year once the facility is fully functioning.

“I want to be explicit that my background and focus is medicinal cannabis; not adult use,” Stephenson wrote.

The proposal comes just months before voters decide on Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults ages 21 and older. Hanford police Chief Parker Sever has previously said the existing ordinance would continue to prohibit outdoor marijuana cultivation even if the initiative passes.

Marijuana cultivation and distribution is also currently prohibited in Lemoore, Avenal, Corcoran and unincorporated Kings County.

In other business, the council will consider removing Shaka Sudds from the Hanford Parking and Traffic Commission. The report does not give a reason for the action. City policy allows the council to remove commissioners by a majority vote without giving cause, notice or a hearing.

If the council approves her removal, the council will have to collect applications and appoint a replacement to fill out Sudds’ term, which expires Dec. 31, 2019. 

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@HanfordSentinel.com.


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