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Caliva product (file) (copy)

Product from Caliva's San Jose cannabis facility.

HANFORD — Hanford may get a cannabis dispensary early next year after the city council awarded the first cannabis dispensary permit Tuesday evening at its meeting.

In a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Art Brieno as the only no vote, council awarded the permit to Nc6 dba Caliva, aka Caliva, a business which also holds a cannabis distribution permit in Hanford’s Industrial Park.

In April, council decided to allow two storefront retail dispensaries to locate in the downtown area, along with two delivery-only retail dispensaries in the Industrial Park.

According to a city staff report, seven businesses applied for a dispensary permit during the open application process.

Caliva’s proposed dispensary would be located at 104 N. Douty St. This site was previously occupied by Serrano’s Furniture, which is moving to a location inside the Hanford Mall.

The 7,370 square-foot building is being proposed as both a retail storefront and delivery operation of medical and adult use cannabis.

In March, council approved allowing existing permittees to apply for additional permits through a streamlined process after paying all fees upfront.

Since Caliva’s permit is in good standing with the city, the company was eligible to be streamlined through the first phase of the application process, which includes determining eligibility and background checks.

As for the rest of the application phases, Community Development Director Darlene Mata said Caliva went through the same processes as every other business that applied for permits.

HdL Companies, the city’s cannabis consulting firm, then took over in the second phase of the application process, which was a review Caliva’s business plan, neighborhood compatibility plan, security plan, air quality plan, labor employment plan and its proposed location.

The third phase of the application process was an in-person interview. The second and third phases of Caliva’s application received a combined score of 89%, with 80% being the score a company needs to move on to the last phase of the process.

The final phase took place Tuesday evening, which was the public hearing and final council vote.

During the public hearing, some members of the public expressed their concern about how safety would be affected by having a dispensary in the downtown area.

Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever said Caliva created a security plan that was given to the police department.

As part of the security plan, Caliva will have high resolution surveillance cameras both outside and inside the dispensary running 24 hours a day. Sever said the system would be able to be monitored by his department at all times.

In addition, there would be two security guards onsite during business hours and one during the closed hours.

Rand Martin, a representative for Caliva, attended the meeting and told council there would also be security measures like electronic door locks that require key cards to enter and exit certain parts of the building.

Martin said Caliva’s flagship operation in San Jose was in a high crime area when they moved in, but due to the security system, crime has gone down in the neighborhood due to increased foot traffic, the security guards and the cameras.

Sever confirmed this statement, saying he spoke with the sergeant in charge of the cannabis division in San Jose and was told their department had good relations with Caliva. The sergeant even told Sever that the department had used the cameras to solve crimes in the area.

“And they haven’t had any substantial increase in calls due to their business,” Sever added.

Sever said he believed the added security would benefit the area around the proposed dispensary.

“We’ll be keeping a close eye on these facilities to make sure that they’re good neighbors and operating how they should be operating,” Sever assured council. Mayor Sue Sorensen said she appreciated all of the security measures.

Martin said Caliva is thrilled with the location of the proposed dispensary and intends to move in quickly and open by the first quarter of 2020. He said they would hire 35 storefront employees and 15 delivery employees.

Martin said first year projected revenue is $3.7 million, possibly increasing to $12 million by 2022.

He also said Caliva has committed to at least $50,000 per year in giving, as well as volunteer programs for employees to get out and help the community.

“We’re very committed to being partners with our community,” Martin said.

Martin thanked the council and the city for working with Caliva and for their support throughout this long process.

“You all have been really terrific to work with,” he said. “We’re very excited about moving forward.”

As for the six other applicants, Mata said the ones that make it through the first two phases of the application process will go on to the interview portion, which is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 10. She said she anticipates bringing the finalists to council on the first meeting in November.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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