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Delano City Council discusses changing ordinance that bans Cannabis business

Posted at 2:47 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 05:47:01-05

While recreational cannabis sales are legal in California, they are banned throughout most of Kern county, including Delano, City Council revisited that rule Monday night

“We’ve have known that it’s been trafficked in our community on both sides of town, this just allows us to put up a sign with a green cross that says, ‘buy it now, buy it here,’” expressed one member of the public.

Mayor Bryan Osorio asked for a new ordinance to replace one currently prohibiting Cannabis business of all kinds (since 2017), but that request was met with mixed reviews from the public.

“I’ve investigated legal marijuana groves in the mountains and on the valley floor, ive also investigated indoor groves in houses, large buildings, and legal dispensaries,” Nelson Diaz, an investigator with the Kern County DA’s office said.

Meanwhile Diaz expressed his opposition to the ordinance, because he said it’s associated with crime activity.

"Some things that have been in the news in the city of Bakersfield that I would hope not to see in the city of Delano: April 6, 2021, man wounded in shooting in front of illegal marijuana dispensary just two months ago in October of 2021, one wounded two others injured in Oildale marijuana shop robbery," Diaz said.

While some Delano residents agreed, others pointed out that the headlines mentioned were irrelevant to legalized cannabis business. Josh Black, Head of Operations of cannabis company Element 7 assured Diaz that legalized cannabis companies like his are heavily vetted by governmental authorities.

“Look, officer Diaz, and people like him do amazing work,” Black said. “I’m very supportive of many of his views, but many of those views are of an illegal, illicit and untaxed business.”

Some public commenters also said the tax revenue from cannabis sales could be beneficial to the city.

“Other cities in CA are doing this and they’re reimagining what public funding looks like. And through a participatory process, where all community members could participate in where funding goes to shape a community that is equitable,” One member of the public said.

The council was supposed to discuss the actual implementation of cannabis in the community, including locations (keeping in mind distance from k-12 schools), whether the city would require conditional use permits, and the exact number of businesses they would allow if a new measure replaced this prohibition. They also would have discussed the possibility of a cannabis tax.

Council however, had to adjourn their meeting early due to technical issues. 23ABC will continue to follow this and provide an update as soon as information comes into our newsroom.