Kern County Medical Marijuana, Measure G (June 2012)
|Voting on Marijuana|
|Not on ballot|
A "yes" vote on Measure G was a vote to uphold a county ordinance passed in August 2011 that places new restrictions on how medical marijuana dispensaries in the county are allowed to operate. A "no" vote was a vote against the new restrictions.
Supporters of medical marijuana argued that the new restrictions are so burdensome that medical marijuana dispensaries in the county will be forced to close. Supporters of the new restrictions, such as Sheriff Donny Youngblood, argued that the way that medical marijuana dispensaries currently operate in the county is a "sham" and a cover for recreational use of marijuana.
At the time of the vote on Measure G, about two dozen medical marijuana dispensaries were operating in Kern County.
In the midst of the campaign over Measure G, federal authorities began a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California, including in Kern County. They can do that because in spite of the fact that medical marijuana is legal in California, due to Proposition 215, all marijuana is illegal anywhere in the United States, according to the federal government. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner initiated the crackdown, saying, ""Large commercial operations cloak their moneymaking activities in the guise of helping sick people when in fact they are helping themselves...It's not about medicine, it's about profits."
- These final results are from the Kern County elections office.
- Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood was a leading supporter of Measure G.
- The Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the medical marijuana restriction ordinance that is the subject of Measure G. Karen Goh, one of the supervisors, said, "Measure G provides a balance making sure that patients have access to medical marijuana while making sure at the same time our children are protected and businesses are protected." She also said, "Out of 23 Kern County dispensaries, there have been 59 separate incidents including 14 burglaries, child endangerment, assault and robbery."
- Tom Alexander, a Bakersfield resident, said, "Approving Measure G sends a clear signal to our county's pot dispensaries and collectives that we side with the federal government on this issue, and that we care about the safety and well-being of our children and grandchildren. Saying yes to Measure G also sends the correct message to federal lawbreakers that Kern County cities and towns will not give in to the Jack City mentality that pervades other cities."
- Robert Wade, a "narcotics officer turned entrepreneur", who runs a dispensary in the county and who helped spearhead the petition drive to collect signatures to qualify Measure G for the ballot.
- Phil Ganong, a local attorney. He said, ""It will effectively shut everything down, which will effectively drive all patient demands to organized crime." He also said, ""It will probably remove about 500 jobs from the county. It will remove tax revenues from the county and the state. It will also lead to the decay of neighborhoods where these patient associations have located and actually provided security and rehabilitating the buildings."
- The editorial board of the Bakersfield Californian urged a "no" vote on Measure G, saying, "So much is in flux at the federal, state and local levels that California might not be able to fulfill the original intent of the Compassionate Use Act for years, if ever. The current system of collectives and storefront dispensaries is rife with problems, but at least it honors the law's intent -- helping cancer patients and others who live with chronic pain. By contrast, Measure G would implement an effective ban. The county has not made clear what pressing need is addressed by Measure G that justifies making it harder for patients to alleviate their pain, other than satisfying the ideological leanings of a select few county officials."
Dispensary history in Kern
- 2006: Kern County enacted an ordinance that allowed for six licensed dispensaries.
- 2007: The terms of the six licensed dispensaries were extended.
- 2009: The 2006 ordinance, limiting the number of dispensaries in the county, was repealed. It was replaced with an ordinance with the minimal restriction that any dispensaries must be at least 1,000 feet from any school.
- 2010: The Kern County Board of Supervisors enacted an ordinance banning any additional dispensaries.
- 2011: In August, the Kern County Board of Supervisors adopted an emergency ordinance saying that a maximum of 12 marijuana plants could be grown on any parcel of land. That was adopted as an emergency ordinance. A second ordinance was adopted that is the subject of Measure G.
The question on the ballot:
|Measure G: "Shall a County zoning ordinance be adopted that amends Title 19 of the Ordinance Code to restrict the location of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Medium (M-2 PD) and Heavy (M-3 PD) Industrial Districts and to require them to maintain a distance of at least one (1) mile from all schools, daycare centers, parks, churches, and other Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, and to require them to operate in compliance with development and performance standards?"|
Path to the ballot
Measure G was on the ballot because people in the county who objected to a medical marijuana dispensary restriction ordinance enacted by the Kern County Board of Supervisors in August 2011 collected signatures to force the new ordinance to a vote of the people via the veto referendum process.
About 17,000 signatures were collected to force Measure G to a vote.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 New York Times, "Petition Drive Challenges Medical Marijuana Ban in Rural California County", November 3, 2011
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 KGET, "Measure G: Kern County voters decide fate of pot dispensaries", May 10, 2012
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bakersfield Now, "Medical marijuana: political and legal battleground", May 18, 2012
- ↑ Bakersfield Californian, "Letter to the Editor", May 24, 2012
- ↑ Bakersfield Californian, "No on G: Don't stymie access to medical pot", May 16, 2012