Weed Wars: County counsel strikes back

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Once again, supervisors could not escape their morning meeting without fending off allegations of marijuana corruption, with county counsel firing back at accusers.

One week ago medical marijuana advocate David Abbasi accused Supervisor Leticia Perez and Supervisor Mike Maggard of a number of wrongdoings including accepting bribes from marijuana groups and opponents of the Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE program.  

“[It] is outrageous, it’s libelous, it’s without merit and untrue,” responded Supervisor Maggard last week.

But Supervisor Mick Gleason had had enough.

On Tuesday, County Counsel Mark Nations acknowledged he does not have authority to properly investigate crimes like bribery, yet poured cold water on Abbasi’s claims. 

“I have concluded that what is happening here is a concerted campaign to disseminate false and misleading information in an effort to garner publicity sow confusion, create mistrust and disunity, undermine confidence in local government and intimidate public officials,” Nations outlined.

In text messages Abbasi did not back down, saying Nations is the “supervisors’ instrument” and is “misrepresenting [the situation] at the least, if not lying.”

Abbasi has not been the only one to lob weed accusations. 

David Brust, co-founder of Bakersfield Residents Against Pot Shops told supervisors his group has been looking into the swirling allegations.

“I can say we are greatly disturbed by what we have uncovered and the lack of honesty and transparency,” said Brust.

Speaking with Nations afterwards, it was clear this story is not yet over. 

“No it’s not gonna stop them, they have an agenda, and I’m sure they’ll be back before long making some more outrageous statements without any support, because they can,” said Nations.

And important to remember, much of this back and forth spilled into the public eye after Supervisor Maggard accused Abbasi, Supervisor Perez and others of waging a revenge campaign against him, for Maggard’s October vote to ban the marijuana industry from Kern’s unincorporated parts.

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