pot shops (copy)

In this file photo the medical marijuana dispensaries Kush King is open for business.

The future of the marijuana industry in Kern County was thrown into disarray after voters rejected all three cannabis measures on Tuesday’s ballot.

The 20-odd medical marijuana dispensaries that continue to operate legally in unincorporated Kern County are using county permits that are set to expire at the end of November.

Without action by the Board of Supervisors, those dispensaries could be shuttered if they do not receive extensions to their permits.

And those extensions would only allow the dispensaries to be open into the spring of next year.

“It’s a shame,” said Heather Epps, a signatory of two medical marijuana measures voted on in Bakersfield and Kern County. “I feel bad for the patients, really, who are going to suffer.”

The three measures up for vote sought to overturn a ban in both Kern County and Bakersfield on marijuana dispensaries.

Two measures brought forward by Epps’ group, Kern Citizens for Patient Rights, would have allowed for medical marijuana dispensaries in either the county or the city.

Another measure, brought forward by an industrial real estate investment group, Industrial Partners Group, would have allowed for both medical and recreational dispensaries, while capping the number of dispensaries to 35.

Now that residents of both Bakersfield and the county have spoken out against the shops, a path to legal pot within the county remains unclear.

And with a deadline fast approaching, many dispensaries could soon move underground.

“They are going to operate illegally,” Epps said of the dispensaries. “They are going to move out of that building that they’re in and they’re going to move into a house in your neighborhood.”

But not everybody views results of the Tuesday’s election negatively.

David Brust, co-founder of the group, Bakersfield Residents Against Pot Shops, looked at the election as the first step in the right direction for the county.

His group wants to limit medical marijuana dispensaries to the industrial areas of the county, which none of the measures did.

“I feel great about the vote,” he said. “I think that the residents of Bakersfield as well as the county realized that these cannabis measures were flawed from the beginning.”

He hopes dispensary owners and community leaders will come together following the election to come up with an ordinance that will satisfy the pot detractors and allow the medical marijuana patients to buy product within the county.

“We need advocates that are patient rights advocates and we need concerned citizens that jointly, with city and county government, can come up with a plan that’s going to work for everyone,” he said. “What we don’t want is to wait two years and have an ordinance that’s thrown down our throats.”

Outside of a new ordinance by either the supervisors or city council, voters could potentially see another medical marijuana measure on the ballot in March 2020.

“Our ballot measure will be our last chance, and our last hope for saving medical cannabis,” said David Abbasi, president of Central Valley Cannabis Association.

His group’s measure, which has been certified by the county, would legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated county areas.

Supervisors could still adopt the measure or approve a separate ordinance.

Until local officials take action or another ballot measure appears, Kern County cannabis users may soon need to drive to another county to get their fix.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415 or smorgen@bakersfield.com

(12) comments


All of these one sided arguments are exactly why measures J and K were shot down. There needs to be checks and balances in order for any ordinance to work. If both parties were to stop being so bias and lay out their needs and expectations in a proper way, there would already be a resolution. This article is not saying weed is the devil's whatever. It's also not saying it should be so accessible that our children see pot shops on each corner like Starbucks. There needs to be a connection and mutual understanding between both sides and the comments I read above will not get either party what they want. I agree strongly with Mr. Brust.

Boogerface Nutter

Sooooo...in order to buy CBD oil, which, believe it or not, helps with my joint pain, I must go to Cal City?
This is the Jeff Sessions version of Bako. Ignore reality and facts and eliminate a good source of tax dollars from sales and use of a product that is already in steady use in town.
The comedy just writes itself.

The Jackal

Now the Board of Supervisors has this restrictive ordinance that qualified for March 2020, can be adopted on November 13th and that will solve all their problems. It's fair and bare minimum for medical use only.

Fram Smith

Anyone who uses cannabis simply goes to L.A. County. It's 2018 over the hill, even though it's gooAd old 1958 in Kern County. And the way we vote, we will continue to live in the past, since we vote for people who are afraid to shape the future. HEY REMUDA , WHAT DOES PUTIN THINK ABOUT ALL THIS?


More importantly, here comes the black market!!! Way to bring pot dealers back!


The only people dumb enough to continue shooting yourself in the foot over a completely harmless plant. Well played Kern. You will forever be the laughing stock of the real Californians.

Citizen Kane

The Good voters of KC have SPOKEN! They do not want that devils weed about. That is the KC unincorporated view. NOW, on the other hand, CALIFORNIA CITY is OPEN FOR CANNABIS BUSINESS! Yes, the incorporated folks of that 3rd largest city in Cali and the best recreational destination where the best OHV, airspace for flight, affordable land (for cannabis business) and an ALL-AMERICAN desert city with it's own massive aquifir exists free from such limitations on your freedoms, and is still available! No kidding! Miss the gold rush of '49?? Now you can get it back in California City! OPEN FOR LEGAL CANNABIS BUSINESS AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH ALL STATE LAWS. VISIT CALIFORNIA CITY TODAY!


your clever comments make me wish for the upvote button :)


It sure appears that the medical marijuana shops are no longer opening new locations in Kern County or the city limits of Bakersfield. But you can buy products infused with CBD Oil. If you live in Bakersfield, it's legal for you to buy our CBD products!


Need dope . . . ? Go see your Obamacare Dr. The only safe 'grass' in Bakersfield in in all those great parks, and 'Mary Jane' has no future here.


Nah, come see any of the kind black market dealers who will now be making a killing selling weed to kids. Guess Kern would rather have illegal drug dealers selling the weed. Smart call.


Omg Bakersfield. You are so lame.

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