Dispensaries in Bakersfield previously operating legally now face police raids as a result of local legislative action.
Previously, after California legalized medical cannabis use, shops operating with medical licenses provided patients with the drug legally across the state. However, with the passage of Prop 64 legalizing recreational use, municipalities gained a special power.
In addition to the statewide legalization of recreational use, local governments the passage of the proposal granted the ability to outlaw its sale within their jurisdiction outright. Therefore, shops previously in good legal standing faced a potential reversal after years of legal operation.
Such is the case in Kern County. There, the sale of cannabis became illegal, suddenly nullifying licenses owned by shops in Bakersfield.
Both the Bakersfield City Council and the Kern County Board of Supervisors took it upon themselves to ban the sale of cannabis within their borders.
Dispensaries Shut Down by Raids
Earlier this week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, police raided 3 separate dispensaries located within Bakersfield. Their confiscated take consisted of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of product.
Back in January, the sheriff’s office arrested 4 following raids of 6 dispensaries. Just last week, law enforcement arrested 10 following raids on 4 cannabis stores.
While officials claim the raids prioritize public safety, local residents complain about the loss of their local cannabis store.
One 75-year-old cannabis user, Cynthia Johnston, who uses the drug to treat her arthritis, expressed her dismay to reporters of Bakersfield.com. “I can hardly afford to drive to LA to buy bottom shelf bud, which is all I could afford in the first place. So a lot of patients are impacted because they could barely afford their medicine already.”
However, residents receive the chance to overturn the ban this March. Two ballot measures seek to legalize the sale of cannabis within Kern County.