BAKERSFIELD - The Bakersfield City Attorney's office has made the first move to oust medicinal marijuana dispensaries, banned businesses in city limits. City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said the city sent letters to 17 property owners last week.
The city said marijuana dispensaries are renting space to sell their product. Last week, the city sent letters, not to the dispensaries, but to the property owners, hoping the threat of legal action will make them kick their dispensary tenants out.
"It's a lot of work to get where we ultimately need to go," said Gennaro.
Gennaro said a task force, including the city manager's office, BPD, county code enforcement and the finance department formed three weeks ago.
She said their first job was to identify all dispensaries. They then sent a letter to 17 property owners that are home to medicinal marijuana dispensaries banned by the city in July.
"As opposed to just barging in and closing down a business, which we cannot do, I think this is a thorough process and in line with what the council expects in this process," said Gennaro.
The letter told the property owner the dispensary is "in violation of both federal and local law" and that "continued operation...may result in legal action."
"Just baby steps. Making headway slowly but surely," said Gennaro.
Gennaro says initially, the city counted 26 marijuana dispensaries in the city limits. Within the last three weeks, Gennaro said at least seven have closed, and two others are most likely shut down.
"I think that's a positive direction in the way the council is leaning towards," said Gennaro.
If others don't follow suit, Gennaro said she'll send another letter to the property owner and an additional letter to the dispensary owner. If there is still no response, she says legal action is only six months away.
"I'd like them to close by tomorrow, but clearly anyone that was listening to the directive that the council gave, and considering first and second reading of the ordinance, it was very clear that this was a process," said Gennaro.
17 News called all of the property owners with dispensaries, but none of those 26 phone calls was returned.