In an effort to address public safety concerns stemming from the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana, the Hanford City Council will consider an ordinance Tuesday to ban those activities.
During its Oct. 7 meeting, the council voted 4-0-1 to waive the first reading of the ordinance, with Councilman Jim Irwin abstaining. If the ordinance gets final approval on Tuesday, it would go into effect 30 days after its passage.
Interim Police Chief Parker Sever previously told the council that the Hanford Police Department is aware of several large medical marijuana grow operations in the city that have led to numerous reports of theft and vandalism, as well as neighbors in the vicinity complaining about the associated smell.
Although the council also could have chosen to enact an ordinance that would have still allowed medical marijuana to be grown and dispensed in the city’s industrial zones, Sever recommended that the council proceed with a full ban until the state and federal governments can agree on how to regulate the drug. Sever said police have confronted individuals with medical marijuana cards who claim to be treating everything from back pain to bipolar disorder.
“Nobody knows what the dosage is,” Sever told the council. “No one can tell me what it treats.”
As the ordinance is written, violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.
The Corcoran City Council approved a similar ban on Oct. 6. Kings County adopted a ban in 2011.
The council will also consider a $67,700 work order with Lane Engineers to conduct a structural evaluation and needs assessment for the Old Fire Station on Lacey Boulevard, the Bastille, the Civic Auditorium and the Veteran's Building. If approved, the work would include an overall structural and electrical inspection of each building, as well as checking for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In other business, the council will weigh a recommendation from the city’s traffic and parking commission to remove the crosswalk at 10th Avenue and Crass Street. The marked crosswalk, which is primarily used by nearby residents traveling to and from businesses at the Super Way Center, has been deemed unsafe due to its high traffic volume, the posted 40 mph speed limit and lack of traffic controls like stop signs or traffic lights.
The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@HanfordSentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeE_HS.
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