HANFORD — The Hanford City Council met Tuesday evening and held a public hearing that concerned an interim zoning/urgency ordinance on hemp.
Council voted unanimously to approve the urgency ordinance, which restricts the commercial cultivation and manufacturing of industrial hemp (CBD) products in the city.
Hemp comes from the cannabis plant, but contains less than .03% of THC — the main psychoactive ingredient found in recreational cannabis products. Hemp can be used to make fibers, clothes, paper, oils and lotions, among other items.
Council previously adopted an urgency ordinance in May that prohibited the manufacturing or cultivation of hemp in the city. The ordinance, which lapsed without an extension in June, was meant to allow staff the time to research potential concerns that may result from these activities.
Since that time, the Kings County Board of Supervisors adopted an emergency/interim ordinance and the California Department of Food and Agriculture proposed emergency regulation to establish procedures for industrial hemp cultivation.
Community Development Director Darlene Mata said neither entity has adopted anything that would address manufacturing. She said she has been getting interest from companies that would like to manufacture or cultivate hemp in the city limits.
City staff asked council to adopt the urgency ordinance to allow them more time to bring back a permanent ordinance to address the regulatory processes of cultivation and manufacturing of hemp.
Mata said this will also give staff time to research potential impacts, harmful effects or other concerns like mites, pesticides and odor.
“We’re more familiar with the cultivation of marijuana, so we just need to make sure we understand — if we’re going to allow it — what we’re dealing with and properly regulate it,” she said.
The urgency ordinance will last another 45 days. If staff is not completely ready to process the ordinance at that time, they will bring the issue back to council and extend the urgency ordinance another 180 days.
More from Council
Council unanimously approved an update to the city’s parking control fines.
Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever said average parking fines in Hanford range between $21-24, based on the type of citation issued.
Due to rising DMV and administrative costs, he said the city itself receives just $4.80 per citation, which is not enough to support a full-time parking control officer.
The department looked at fines in comparable cities like Visalia and Fresno, both of which issue citations between $40-43.
In order to recover costs to support the recently-hired full-time parking control officer, the department requested the city raise its fines to $35 per citation, which would bring in approximately $18.60 per citation and $80,000 per year.
Council approved the changes, which Sever said would help support the new officer.