Supes to consider pot ballot measure
BAKERSFIELD — The Kern County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider placing a measure before county voters that would allow for medical marijuana sales within the unincorporated areas of the county, partially lifting the complete ban on commercial marijuana activities that has been in place since 2017.
The Board meeting begins at 2 p.m. at the county building at 1115 Truxton Ave. in Bakersfield.
The proposed ballot measure would go before voters in the March 3, 2020 primary election. It would require a vote of 50% plus one vote to pass.
The retail businesses would be limited to med
ical marijuana, sold to customers with a doctor’s authorization, not the recreational use made legal in California when voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016.
Businesses would be required to obtain a state license, and may offer delivery.
The retail outlets would be allowed only in areas zoned for industrial uses, and would have to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, public parks, large family daycare centers, youth centers, libraries, churches and other places of worship and city limits.
In addition, businesses would be required to be at least 350 feet from existing residential homes, according to the staff report.
These medical marijuana retail outlets would also be required to obtain a conditional use permit from the county in order to operate. This permit process allows for a public hearing and looks at individual businesses and conditions.
The staff recommendation calls for limiting approval of these permits to three years, with businesses required to apply for renewal before it expires to allow for a permanent approval.
There would be no limit to the number of permits the county could award.
The ballot measure would also call for a business tax on these medical marijuana stores of $35 per $1,000 in gross receipts, essentially a 3.5% tax.
The revenues generated from this tax would go to the General Fund and would be allocated by the Board of Supervisors during the annual budget process, according to the staff report. There is no recommendation to reserve the tax revenues for a specific use.
Although the Board approved a complete ban on commercial marijuana activities in October 2017, some established retail outlets were allowed to continue operating for a limited time to allow for an orderly shut down of their businesses. That deadline passed in May.
However, a number of shops have continued to operate beyond that deadline, and some have been subject to law enforcement actions since then.