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Kern County supervisors vote to put medical marijuana ordinance on March ballot

One of two ordinances on ballot
Marijuana Dispensery
Posted at 4:57 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 20:14:19-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After the Kern County Board of Supervisors delayed taking action on a proposal that could overturn the ban of medical marijuana dispensaries last week, Tuesday they held a meeting to give some answers as well as let others voice their opinions.

The Planning Department recommended to supervisors Tuesday to draft a medical marijuana ordinance that would be placed on the March 2020 ballot. It would require marijuana retailers to be licensed by the State bBureau of Cannabis Control, be more than 1,000 feet away from parks, schools, churches, and city limits. They would also be required to apply for the permit every three years and pay a business tax.

There is already a measure on the 2020 ballot, proposed by marijuana advocate David Abbassi. That initiative would allow any dispensary that was open before January 2018 to reopen, overturning a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Kern County. And if Abbassi's initiative passes, it would outweigh the county's ordinance, which officials say would take several months to implement.

Dozens of people at Tuesday's meeting spoke, many not happy with today's new ordinance recommendations. Planning Director Loreli Oviatt says the recommendations should ease complaints within the community.

The final date an item can be placed on the March ballot is November. All of the board members approved to put the ordinance on the ballot Tuesday, except for Leticia Perez who recused herself due to conflict of interest.