The Renegade Rip

Bakersfield City Council shuts down local marijuana shops

Ambria King, Photo Editor

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The results of a vote held by the Bakersfield City Council on Oct. 11 have banned the operation of marijuana shops within Bakersfield city limits.

Despite the passing of Proposition 64, which legalized the possession and use of marijuana in the state of California and takes effect on Jan. 1 2018, Bakersfield city officials have passed an ordinance which bans any commercial marijuana business from operating within the city.

The ordinance was passed with a vote of 5-1, with Councilman Willie Rivera giving the only vote in opposition of the ban.

Bakersfield residents aged 21 and over will still be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. They are also able to grow up to six plants and possess the marijuana produced by those plants.

As of Nov. 1, more than 120 marijuana dispensaries operate within the limits of Kern County. After the Oct 11 ban was passed, 20 shops were closed in Bakersfield, with 10 of those closures occurring after a mass sweep was performed by the Bakersfield Police Department. During the sweep, it was discovered that many of the dispensaries were stealing power from neighboring businesses and were in violation of a number of building codes. More than 650 pounds of marijuana were confiscated during the sweep. Eighteen arrests were made, including four for felony charges. Fifteen grams of cocaine, firearms, and upward of $20,000 cash were also confiscated during the raids.

It is estimated that enforcing the ordinance will cost anywhere from $1.2 million to $2.7 million dollars a year, while allowing shops to exist and taxing and regulating them would gain the county more than $30 million dollars a year.

Nevertheless, the city councilmembers who voted for the ban claim that they are merely representing the desires of their constituents.

While the majority of Californians voted yes on Prop 64, allowing it to pass in last November’s elections, the majority of Kern County voters voted against it.

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Bakersfield City Council shuts down local marijuana shops