Voters in Kern County will have the opportunity to vote on three measures this Election Day that could overturn the ban on medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana in the county and medicinal marijuana in the City of Bakersfield.
Measure J would overturn the county’s ban on just medicinal marijuana, while Measure K would overturn the county’s ban on both medicinal and recreational marijuana.
County planning director Lorelei Oviatt gave the board of supervisors a summary on county measures J and K Tuesday. Measure J would overturn the county’s ban on medical marijuana. Measure K would overturn the county’s ban on medicinal marijuana and would allow for the growing and manufacturing of products of both medicinal and recreational marijuana for two areas in the county, including a 3,300 acre plot of land located in the southwest portion of the county.
Both medicinal and adult use (recreational) retail would be allowed on zones set for industrial, manufacturing, or commercial activities, and must be at least 1,000 feet away from parks and schools but would require a conditional use permit and have a full public hearing unlike Measure J, which would not require any hearings to operate. All must have a state cannabis license to operate.
“Once this is passed by the voters, this is binding,” she said, speaking of both measures.
If none of the measures pass, existing marijuana shops built before the ban was initiated will be forced to shut down by May 2019.
A third ballot measure, Measure O, would overturn the City of Bakersfield’s ban on medical marijuana.
Longtime Bakersfield attorney Phil Ganong wrote measure J.
“It brings the vision of legal medical cannabis as a medicine, regulated, tested, and taxed, to reality in Kern County,” he said. “Supervisors have made these activities illegal. So they’ve created a market for organized crime. Our aim with measure j is to destroy that market, bring it into the light, and have it stay regulated.”
Ganong added he is against Measure K.
“Under Measure K there are only certain areas where you can grow, where you can process, where you can manufacture, and that is all on the west side in an area where there is no infrastructure to support [the growing of cannibals],” he said, adding “there’s no water, no power [because the plan is set for] largely all undeveloped land.”
And then there are others like Ralph Robles. He said his relatives, including one of his adult children, have been addicted to drugs, which is why he vowed to vote against all three measures.
“Why are we going to bring on additional problems to our society?” Robles questioned. “I would like to remind voters this is a gateway drug. All the other drugs have come through the pathway of marijuana. So you’re not just bringing the problems of marijuana, you’re inviting additional problems.”
All three measures need a majority to pass. If both measures J and K pass, the one with the most votes will become law.
Today marks 42 days until election day.