Kern County officials hold public briefing on marijuana industry proposal

Posted at 1:11 PM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 20:49:51-04

Kern County officials held a public briefing in Downtown Bakersfield today at 2 p.m. on the future of medical marijuana cultivation and distribution in unincorporated parts of Kern County.

The briefing will break down the Environmental Impact report the Planning Department released a few weeks ago. It will be held at the Kern County Administrative Center.

State licensing begins January 1. The county planning department is looking to either ban or regulate the industry. This decision would repeal all prior ordinances.

There are currently 22 dispensaries in the unincorporated parts of Kern County under a 2009 ordinance.
The cost of a cannabis enforcement task force would be between $1.3 and $2.7 million a year. The funding would come from the general fund.
The proposal would bring in an estimated $1.5 million to the county general fund.
There would be allowed no more than two dispensaries per unincorporated area.
The impact report outlines many possibilities. While cannabis sale would not be allowed at farmers markets, county fairs and state fairs could potentially have cannabis vendors.
Those who wish to apply for a condition use permit must close first, as outlined by the proposal.
The industry would create an estimated 8,750 full time jobs with a pay of $15 to $22 an hour and include the addition of construction jobs. 
Over 100 people -- including those involved in the industry -- attended the briefing Tuesday, some voicing concerns and others excitement.
"The marijuana train is comin', whether we want it or not," one opposer said.
"Safety first," local Jordan Jarvis said. "In essence we hand over the regulations to the mobs and gangs and the first people that are victims are our kids." He voiced concern that if the industry is banned the county will have less control.
Public comment is being taken until September 11.
This is the first EIR in the whole state of California on cannabis.

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