On Tuesday, the Bakersfield, Ca. city council voted to ban all medical marijuana collectives in the city starting in August. The city already had a resolution in place to ban marijuana dispensaries, but the new ordinance gives the city more legal power to force closures.
City Attorney Ginny Gennaro explained, “This ordinance gives us some additional teeth should we decide to move forward and actually have to use the court power to close a medical marijuana dispensary.”
According to Gennaro, a task force will be formed in the next 30 days and closures could start at the beginning of August. She stated, “We’ll get together. We’ll discuss how many medical marijuana dispensaries are here in the city of Bakersfield. We’ll discuss how many have received complaints, calls for services, etc. Then, really as a group how we move forward, what process are we going to undertake to give us a very good case to proceed with at court.”
Medical marijuana advocates are disappointed, feeling that the city council’s decision does not represent the will of the majority population of Bakersfield. Activist Nathan Acuna explained, “We really believe that 65 percent of the people in Bakersfield support the legal use of marijuana.” Despite that, so far no advocates are planning to challenge the ban … but that’s not saying they don’t want to.
“We don’t have that kind of money,” Acuna explained. It would cost us between $50,000 and $60,000 to that kind of initiative here in Bakersfield. We’re assessing our situations right now to see what next direction we’re going to go into.”
The Bakersfield dispensary ban means that there will only be one collective in all of Kern County serving patients in need of medical marijuana.