County: All 10 pot shops ordered to shut down are still open

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Almost a month has passed since the county says it sent 10 medical marijuana dispensaries cease-and-desist letters. County officials believe all 10 are still open, operating daily as normal.

Gabriel Godinez is the attorney for at least one of the medical marijuana dispensaries ordered to shut down by county counsel last month.

"We have an opportunity to do something that's frugal for the county, in a time that it's really lean. But, we need to do it in a way that's prudent, to where we are doing it right," said Godinez.

Instead of shutting down, Godinez has come up with a list of proposals to keep the shops open.

"A daily use charge for the dispensaries, per day, payable to the county at a hundred dollars per day. Also, a flat rate fee of 25 percent of a deputy sheriff new hire," he proposed. "Also, limiting signage, limiting hours of operation, having mandatory 24-hour security."

Last month, the Kern County Board of Supervisors authorized county counsel to begin the ban in county limits. The decision came after the county ruled the dispensaries were found in violation of the zoning ordinance, and were a public nuisance.

The action comes after a county judge threw out Measure G in February. Without Measure G, which permitted dispensaries only in areas zoned medium or heavy industrial, the county believes that pot shops aren't allowed anywhere within county limits.

Deputy County Council Devin Brown said the shops should have closed immediately after receiving the cease-and-desist letters.

"Medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited in Kern County," he said. "If they don't close, we are going to file civil lawsuits."

Godinez hopes to work with the county to help with the cost of regulating the businesses, especially in regard to public health and safety.

"We need to have reasonable restrictions as opposed to an all-out prohibition," said Godinez.