Several cannabis dispensary owners who were shut down by the county, filed suit in federal court Monday claiming their constitutional rights to due process were violated.
Several protestors were outside the county courthouse in downtown bakersfield on Monday, which served as a backdrop to a long list of allegations made by dispensary owner David Abassi.
Abassi claims that county law enforcement officials and county supervisors, part of what he called a “Good ‘Ol Boy network that has ruled kern county since the 1950s.” Have conspired against the cannabis industry to limit the number of dispensaries in Kern County and only those owner who agreed to “pay to play” have been allowed to stay in business.
“Members of the city council and the board of supervisors are working together in order to create these unfair economic advantages and control the cannabis market in Kern County. Our goal now is to dismantle and disrupt the corruption network and we’d like to root out the individuals and officials that have been involved in these unlawful activities,” said Abassi.
Abassi and his attorney Abraham Labbad, alleged that a dispensary owner in Rosamond paid County Planning Director Loreli Oviatt $70,000 just to stay open. Oviatt completely denied the allegation when asked about it by 17news.
Abassi and Labbad have filed an assortment of claims against the county and city in recent months, all been rejected by the courts. They are moving to the federal level in hopes of getting a fair shake.
In the meantime, the county has given some 25 medical marijuana dispensaries in Kern County until May 24 to close up shop.
Kern County has filed a motion in court to dismiss the case, or at least portions of it.
A hearing on those motions is set for April 15 in federal court.