DA determines allegations brought by members of local cannabis industry are unfounded

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County District Attorney’s office has determined allegations brought by members of the local cannabis industry against local officials are unfounded. 

“Despite a thorough investigation, there was absolutely no evidence revealed to support the claims made by members of the cannabis industry,” according to a DA’s release sent Friday.

The allegations were as follows:

1. It was claimed two meetings held by members of the Kern County Board of Supervisors violated California’s Brown Act, which requires legislative bodies conduct business in public view through noticed hearings.

In one instance, it was alleged Supervisor Mike Maggard discussed marijuana-related issues with Chad Garcia at some point in 2017. Even if the conversation occurred, prosecutors noted the Brown Act is not violated when a member of a legislative body speaks with someone about issues related to the body. A violation requires a majority of the body meeting and discussing issues privately.

In the second instance, it was alleged several people met at Hungry Hunter Steakhouse in 2018 to discuss marijuana regulations. There is no evidence members of the Board of Supervisors were present, therefore there was no violation, prosecutors said.

2. Supervisor Zack Scrivner was accused of “evidence tampering” for his alleged involvement in enforcement activities on four marijuana dispensaries in Rosamond. The accusation was determined to be unfounded as a recorded interview in which Scrivner and a sheriff’s commander displayed evidence seized for destruction showed no wrongdoing, prosecutors said.

3. It was alleged Maggard, Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt and other officials accepted bribes from dispensary owner David Valencia. The investigation did not find any evidence the alleged bribes occurred other than statements from Valencia, according to prosecutors. 

And in an earlier statement, prosecutors said, Valencia had denied of even hearing any officials had been bribed. 

The investigation lasted two months and involved interviews with more than 20 people.

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