LEGAL CANNABIS

While the city and county have opted out of regulating the legal sale of cannabis beginning next week, the emerging $7 billion state industry is moving forward. One of the latest developments: Bill Lockyer, formerly California's top cop as attorney general, has co-founded a company to distribute marijuana concentrates and edibles to retail outlets. That's right, the same person who was in charge of California's "war on drugs" is now hoping to cash in on the medicinal and recreational use of pot. As Lockyer told The Los Angeles Times: “For me as somebody who was on the law enforcement side for so many years, I saw the inadequacies of the effort to regulate something just by calling it illegal. I think legalizing will help stabilize and help legitimize this industry and result in better consumer protection and other public benefits. This whole industry has to come from the dark side to the light."

CRIME

Not sure if this is a trend but car thieves seem to be singling out local churches to steal and break into cars. At least two friends had their cars stolen this Christmas, right from the parking lot of their local churches. Yet another left the service to find his car had been broken into and his wallet stolen.

DOG POUND

It was nice to see two Bakersfield animal control officers on the bike path near Manor Drive on Christmas Day looking for a pack of wild dogs that has been chasing cyclists and runners. So far they have captured six dogs, mostly pit bull mixes, while two or three remain loose.

SHOPPING MAYHEM

On Christmas Eve every single shopping cart at the Target on Stockdale Highway was in use, not to mention every checkout line was open with a line. I wasn't the only shopper to wait to the last minute.

CHRISTMAS LAMENT

I spotted this on a friend's Facebook page: "I really hope to wake up to a brand new car with a huge red bow, but I’m pretty sure my husband just got me socks."

SPOTTED ON TWITTER

"I’m pretty sure that it’s easier to leave most street gangs than it is to cancel a membership to a gym."

SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK

"Everyone is talking about Star Wars and I'm here thinking about tamales."

ALARM CLOCK

Local appraiser Gary Crabtree wonders if he is alone in noticing a new alarm clock about town. "Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the new town alarm clock in the form of the 'pile driving” taking place for the Centennial Corridor project over the Kern River. For the last two weeks I’ve been awakened by the 'gong' that starts around 6:30 to 7 a.m. I can hardly wait for them to begin on the California Avenue and Stockdale Highway bridges."

GOOD FORM

Sandra Morris was dining with friends at Joseph's Italian restaurant recently when a kind looking man eating by himself picked up her bill. "A friend from Nigeria is here for the holidays and we were giving her a going away party and an Italian food experience ... My friend from Nigeria always says how good and generous Americans are and she got to see a fine example today."

Email contributing columnist Richard Beene at rsbeene@yahoo.com. His work appears here on Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.

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