WEED WARS: Marijuana advocates urge supervisors to extend May 24 pot shop closure deadline

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Medical marijuana dispensary owners and patients voiced frustration at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning. The May 24 deadline mandating all Kern County pot shops to shut down is now less than a month away.

Emotions at the meeting ran high.

“You will know my name is the lord! When I lay my vengeance upon thee! exclaimed David Abbasi to the Board.  

“You may have forgotten but we’re still here. We’re still people,” said another man. “Medical marijuana is one thing that helps a lot of people.”

Jason Harrington showed up Tuesday worried about what will happen following the may 24th deadline when all grandfathered in medical pot shops in kern county will be required to shut down.

“It’s kind of rediciouls that people who need this medicine will have to go so far, and it’s just not fair and not right,” Harrington said.

Those at the meeting encouraged the board to re-consider the ban, noting the county would benefit from cannabis.

“Why doesn’t the county take the time to tax us? This is a very profitable business,” said Steven Duce, owner of the B.V.C Dispensary.
Attorney Abraham Labbad helped organize the effort to bring marijuana supporters to Tuesday’s meeting.

“They’re going to close down all the shops in 24 or 25 days. If they do that, they’re taking away access from homeless people and people who don’t have rides,” he said. “These are the people we should look out for,” Labbad continued.

But David Brust, co-founder of Bakersfield Residents Against Pot Shops, said he supports closing down the shops.

“The proven track record with the majority of these marijuana shop owners is that they don’t care about our community. What they care about is making money.”

There is no indication the supervisors will extend the deadline. Meantime, a ballot measure by David Abbasi’s Central Valley Cannabis has qualified for the primary election on March 3, 2020. 

If passed, the county estimates the measure would legalize 30-60 medical pot shops.

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