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Hanford Bans Growth, Distribution Of Medical Pot

The General

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California - After months of discussion, the Hanford City Council adopted a ban on the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana Tuesday, following suit with a growing number of Valley cities. While such bans have been a point of controversy in other parts of the state, the Hanford City Council adopted the ordinance Tuesday with no opposition from the public. In fact, no one came before the council to oppose the ordinance during the two months it was being considered.

The ordinance, which will go into effect late next month, bans medical marijuana collectives and dispensaries in all zones of the city, as well as banning the cultivation of medical marijuana and declaring it a public nuisance. Hanford police are aware of a number of large medical marijuana grows in the city that have led to reports of burglary and theft, as well as complaints from neighbors.

Interim police Chief Parker Sever said police will initially issue warnings to violators to allow time for citizens to learn about the new ordinance. According to the ordinance, violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to up to six months in jail or a fine of $1,000. Each day the violation continues will constitute a separate violation. Hanford residents who have a medical marijuana card would still be permitted to use the drug at their homes. However, they would have to obtain it from a dispensary in another city.

"This does not ban the medicinal use of marijuana in the city limits of Hanford," Sever said at Tuesday's council meeting. "What it bans is the cultivation and dispensary activities." Sever told the council that he recently met with a resident who expressed concerns about a neighbor who has "an entire garage full of marijuana" and is currently erecting a greenhouse in his backyard. "That's what this ordinance is designed to prevent," Sever said.

Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, was approved by California voters in 1996 to allow seriously ill patients to obtain and use marijuana for medical reasons. Federal law still prohibits cultivation and possession of the drug. The California Supreme Court ruled last year that cities may regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana, including banning those activities.

Back in August, Sever presented the council with two possible ordinances to address safety concerns that have stemmed from legal medical marijuana operations in the city. One option would only permit medical marijuana to be grown and distributed in the city's industrial zones, placing strict building and safety regulations on those operations. Another ordinance would ban those activities within the city limits. On Oct. 7, the council voted in favor of proceeding with a ban.

Kings County adopted a similar ban in 2011 in an effort to address loopholes in Proposition 215 that allow criminals to take advantage of the system. Earlier this month, the city of Corcoran also adopted a ban on cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. Lemoore adopted an ordinance in late 2012 that placed strict regulations on medical marijuana cultivation, requiring growers to submit to a long list of health and safety rules.


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Hanfordsentinel.com
Author: Mike Eiman
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Hanford bans growth, distribution of medical pot
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