BAKERSFIELD, CA. — Local advocate Jennifer Romandia has taken the reigns on bringing awareness to illegal marijuana dispensaries and delivery services still operating in Kern County.
Romandia is a former cannabis shop owner now shifting her focus on warning people of the serious dangers of consuming unregulated THC products sold at those businesses.
"Marijuana is a plant, it it grown. If it is not treated properly through its growth or the processing before it is packaged, you could have mold, you could have pesticide contamination and then you are ingesting that," Romandia said.
The Kern County Board of Supervisors placed a ban on marijuana products in the county that forced dispensaries to close their doors in May.
As of now, Romania said only four licensed shops exist in California City.
But the ban hasn't deterred many from keeping their businesses from flowing in other parts of Kern County.
The popular app "Weed Maps" lead 23ABC crews to an illegal dispensary off Kentucky Street in Central Bakersfield. Workers said they are selling medical marijuana inside but could not provide a license number.
"They think they are getting medicine for their illnesses and what they are buying is illicit, unregulated product," Romandia said.
That is why Romandia formed the Kern County Compliant Cannabis Association in an effort to enforce more regulation and get people informed.
A person or business that sells illegal marijuana in Kern County could face a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine. But Romandia said that isn't enough.
Romandia said illegal dispensaries in Kern County are considered a land use issue and code violation -- in which code enforcement would respond. However, it could take up to 120 days for there to be action.
For now, dozens of illegal marijuana businesses remain open and pose a potential threat to customers. The association hopes their work leads to a crackdown.
"If we can bolster the County's efforts, we want to be a support, we want to be a partner, to clean up what happened," Romandia said.
County Supervisor David Couch met with the association on Wednesday. Couch said the county acknowledges the issue of illegal marijuana dispensaries in the county, but he said there are multiple agencies that go after those businesses.
There are two measures on the March ballot that aim at reversing the county marijuana ban.
All current legal marijuana business must have a nine digit state license number on all advertisements. To verify cannabis business licenses click here.
Legal medical marijuana products will have a triangle with a cannabis leaf and an exclamation point inside.