BAKERSFIELD, CA - Local marijuana advocates are looking for options after the Bakersfield city council voted Tuesday night to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, starting in August.
The city attorney's office says a small task force will be formed to help clear out the pot shops after the ban kicks in.
"We really believe that 65 percent of the people in Bakersfield support the legal use of marijuana," said marijuana advocate Nathan Acuna.
According to WeedMaps.com, more than a dozen pot shops are located within city limits.
But starting in August, with the new city ordinance, city officials hope to have none.
"This ordinance gives us some additional teeth should we decide to move forward and actually have to use the court power to close a medical marijuana dispensary," said City Attorney Ginny Gennaro.
Marijuana advocate Nathan Acuna says the decision is disappointing.
"It's sad when Bakersfield's city council, five, six, select few people went against the wishes of the people in Bakersfield and voted to ban it," said Acuna.
The city already has a resolution banning pot shops, but the new ordinance will provide more legal power to close them down.
Genaro says within 30 days, a small task force will be formed.
"We'll get together. We'll discuss how many medical marijuana dispensaries are here in the city of Bakersfield. We'll discuss how many have received complaints, calls for services, etc. Then, really as a group decide how we move forward, what process are we going to undertake to give us a very good case to proceed with at court," said Gennaro.
Marijuana advocates say they won't petition the ban because there's not enough time and it's too expensive.
"We don't have that kind of money. It would cost us between $50,000 to $60,000 to that kind of initiative here in Bakersfield. We're assessing our situations right now to see what next direction we're going to go into," said Acuna.
Acuna says with the ban on pot shops in the city, there will only be one shop in Kern County that will legally be able to sell medicinal marijuana.