Rosamond seeing rise in medical marijuana dispensaries, multiple closed by county in August

Future of Kern County pot shop rules uncertain
Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 21:13:55-04

Medical marijuana shop after medical marijuana shop continue to pop up in Rosamond -- now over a dozen shops in the the unincorporated area that 18,000 people call home.

Many of the shops along Diamond Street, some near churches, and even the old KCSO substation closed last year -- now home to a dispensary.

This new industry causing concern among locals.

"We've seen a lot of violent crimes in marijuana dispensaries throughout the county," Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said. "Rosamond's had a lot of marijuana dispensaries that have somewhat unsavory characters hanging around, and that adds to this fear that the community is unsafe."

However, a Rosamond marijuana industry representative who chose not to disclose his name publicly stated, "there definitely was an increase in [crime] but that doesn't have anything to do with the cannabis industry."

The cannabis industry is currently going through uncertain times -- as the County planning department and Board of Supervisors decides whether to ban or regulate medical marijuana cultivation and distribution in the county.

RELATED: New proposed project would regulate marijuana cultivation, distribution in Kern County

Over a dozen shops currently occupy the town of Rosamond with a population of only around 18,000. However, the clientele isn't just local.

"If you ban them in Lancaster and Palmdale and they're legal in Rosamond...what are you gonna have?," Sheriff Youngblood said. "And that's kind of where we're at right now." 

Just south, a 20 minute drive away, Lancaster and Palmdale have a combined population of over 300,000.

The marijuana industry representative noting that a lot of his clients were from LA County. "We're trying to take cannabis back to its medical roots rather than the party scene people associate it with," he said. "A lot of people rely on this. This would crush them if they lost their cannabis. And unfortunately they would just go back to getting it off the streets."

According to the Kern County Planning Department's marijuana environmental impact report, not all the shops in Rosamond are legal under a 2016 moratorium -- leading to a lot of raids by the code enforcement agency.

In August, five shops were shut down.

RELATED: Three illegal marijuana dispensaries closed in Rosamond

"It was all about medicine....not anymore," Sheriff Youngblood said.

The county is currently discussing whether to regulate or ban dispensaries -- offering the possibility of up to two shops per unincorporated areas, like Rosamond.

The Board of Supervisors is set to make a decision on these rules and regulations in October.

The full Kern County environmental impact report can be found here.


RELATED: Rosamond business owners concerned about increase in crimes