Central California

Three Kern County marijuana ballot measures to compete in November

Depending on where you live, you may see two marijuana measures on your ballot or just one.

Three initiatives by two citizens groups have qualified for the November Kern County ballot through signature drives that collected more signatures than 10 percent of the city and county’s voting population.

Although it is legal to possess and use marijuana products in California, a ban exists in both unincorporated county areas and within the city of Bakersfield on marijuana dispensaries.

Two of the measures would overturn the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the county and city respectively, while leaving in place the ban on recreational dispensaries.

The third measure would largely leave the bans in place, while allowing both recreational and medical dispensaries to operate in two designated locations along Interstate 5 located just north and south of Bakersfield.

Voters in unincorporated Kern County will see two measures on their ballots, while voters in Bakersfield will see just one.

A ballot measure must earn 50 percent plus 1 of the vote to become law.

If both county measures earn more than 50 percent of the vote, then whichever measure receives the most votes will become law.

MEASURE J

Brought forward by medical marijuana activists Jeff Jarvis and Heather Epps with the Kern Citizens for Patient Rights, the measure would largely overturn the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, while leaving the ban in place for recreational dispensaries in unincorporated Kern County.

All medical marijuana dispensaries would be required to be licensed through the state, and land use permits would need to be required in order to operate.

The measure calls for a 7.5 percent business tax be placed on the income of all dispensaries that operate within the county, with the money going into the county general fund.

The dispensaries must be more than a thousand feet from schools, parks or youth centers and the county could adopt density requirements.

MEASURE K

Riverside Attorney Ben Eilenberg, with the group Committee for Safer Neighborhoods and Schools, led the effort to qualify a measure that would restrict marijuana dispensaries to two locations along Interstate 5.

One of the areas would be northwest of Bakersfield, encompassed by Brandt and Sullivan roads, along with Interstate 5.

The second area would be southeast of Bakersfield, encompassed by Old River and Copus roads along with New Rim Ditch.

Both recreational and medical dispensaries would be allowed, although the ordinance would cap the total amount of dispensaries at 35.

A 5 percent tax on gross receipts would be contributed to the county’s general fund.

MEASURE O

This measure is similar to Measure J. Jarvis and Epps with the Kern Citizens for Patient Rights brought the measure forward.

Like Measure J, Measure O would replace the current ban on medical marijuana dispensaries while leaving the ban on recreational marijuana dispensaries in place.

A state license will be required to operate, and dispensaries will not be allowed to be placed within 1,000 feet of schools, parks or youth centers.

A 7.5 percent business tax would be placed on all dispensaries that operate within the city.

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