BAKERSFIELD - A local group is suing the city of Bakersfield over an ordinance that makes pot shops within city limits illegal.
The group, known as Concerned Citizens of Bakersfield, says the city never conducted an environmental review before the ordinance was passed.
Pot shops in Bakersfield have been illegal since last Friday, July 26th.
"I think it's really the final straw that this group has to contest what the council has done," said City Attorney Ginny Genarro.
On Monday, the City Attorney's office received a claim from Channel Law Group in Long Beach which represents Concerned Citizens of Bakersfield.
Attorney Jaime Hall says that same day, a lawsuit was filed.
"This group feels that the city council and the taxpayers should have performed some type of environmental review process before we passed the ordinance," said Genarro.
In the claim, it states the city needs to prepare, circulate and consider a legally adequate initial study, and if applicable, an environmental impact report.
Attorney Hall says the city needs to be in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA.
"Environmental review under CEQA is common. It has taken place for decades in the state and we're simply asking the city to conduct the necessary environmental review before adopting the ordinance," said Jaime Hall, representing Concerned Citizens of Bakersfield.
"I think it's ridiculous to think that our taxpayers should pay for an environmental review on regulating businesses here in the city of Bakersfield, particularly businesses that have not been permitted uses since 2004," said Genarro.
Last month, the city council voted to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries in Bakersfield.
Proponents tried to petition the ban but weren't able to collect enough signatures before Monday's deadline.
Genarro says regardless of the lawsuit, a task force will be formed to help eliminate the pot shops.
"Once that is done, we will establish a process for investigating each and every one of these and we will move forward," continued Genarro.
Attorney Hall says it will take nearly a year before a decision is made on whether the city should conduct a environmental review.