On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors had its say, passing an ordinance that bans medical marijuana cooperatives in Kern County. It was a controversial vote that created quite a buzz about town, now advocates of medical marijuana are launching a referendum to stop the ordinance.
"We want to see an ordinance that works for everybody," Craig Beresh, Pres. California Cannabis Coalition, said. "That regulates it, gets taxed and is beneficial for Kern County as well as the collectives."
Professional signature collectors are on their way to Kern County to drum up more than 17,000 names needed before the ordinance goes into effect September 9th. All registered voters in the county are eligible to sign the referendum.
"Once the signatures are verified, the board can either repeal the ordinance or send it to the voters," Anne Barnett, Auditor-Controller, said.
Barnett said it could cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars to add the measure to the June 2012 ballot, or have a special election. Some Kern County voters said they would vote to legalize pot shops in the county, as long as the right restrictions are put in place.
"I would vote yes on tighter restrictions on who gets the use of it," John Fallgatter, Kern County voter, said.
"If it's for legitimate use I'm all for it, but I know there is abuse of that so how do you distinguish the two?" Liz Martinez, Kern County voter, said.
Others said medical marijuana cooperatives attract crime and bring down the neighborhood.
Medical marijuana advocates said it will cost about $50,000 to collect the signatures and that money will come from donations to the cause, they said they don't think they will have a problem getting the signatures they need.