Kern County supervisors vote to ban marijuana industry

A 4-1 vote ensured a ban in the county

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Supervisor Zack Scrivner estimated over 40 members of the public came out today to voice their opinions on the prospect of a green rush.

But in the end, the Board of Supervisors rejected millions of dollars in potential tax revenue, choosing to buck the state of California, and ban the marijuana industry from unincorporated Kern county.

"All commercial activity is banned meaning you can't grow anything for commercial use to sell, you cant make edibles to sell, you can't make salves for medicinal people to sell, you can't do any of that under this ordinance which takes 30 days to take effect," explained Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Director Lorelei Oviatt.

At 9:30 Tuesday morning county department heads and community leaders presented on Kern's future with marijuana.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood said allowing the use and sale of marijuana would be akin to giving people permission to commit felonies, as marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government.

In contrast Public Works Director Craig Pope argued efforts to ban marijuana activities thus far have been unsuccessful. 

But the chorus of ban advocates including nervous school district superintendents and concerned religious leaders ultimately overpowered those in favor of regulation such as Kern Taxpayers Association, local pot activists, and aspiring marijuana businessmen. 

Only Supervisor Leticia Perez voted against the outright ban. 

"I want to explore with my colleagues a compromise that will be meaningful for our coffers, that will listen very seriously to a community that does not want adult use recreational here, I hear you loud and clear," said Supervisor Perez.

"I am willing to compromise with anything as long as it has the word ban in it," said Supervisor Mick Gleason.

"These shops are exploiting to some extent a drug culture is such that it draws these other what I think are nefarious businesses that are making it harder and harder for these few neighborhoods to be able to survive and pull out," said Supervisor Mike Maggard.

Supervisors David Couch and Zack Scrivner concurred with much of what Supervisors Maggard and Gleason said.

Marijuana regulation advocates promised to respond to a ban with a legal challenge as soon as possible.

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