Northwest Bakersfield

Pot advocate: OK with city oversight, but not ban

Pot advocate: OK with city oversight, but not ban

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The City Council heard heartfelt testimony Wednesday night from supporters of medical marijuana, following the first reading of a proposed ordinance banning dispensaries.

The first-reading ordinance was unanimously passed, and a process is now underway to ban medical marijuana shops in the city. City attorney Ginny Gennaro said enforcing the proposed ban would be complaint-driven, and that police would not go around boarding up businesses and arresting people.

Nathan Acuna is a medical marijuana supporter and member of the board of directors for Bakersfield collective Nature's Medicinal. He agrees with Gennaro and says, "I think as long as they keep the complaints down, and if there are complaints, then by all means, it’s appropriate that the city be able to investigate it."
Not all medical marijuana supporters are in favor of the ordinance, though. Proponents of the drug’s medicinal use pleaded for the council not to proceed with the proposed ordinance. In all, 24 people submitted cards to the city clerk to speak against the ordinance.

T.J. Esposito is an advocate for medical marijuana and says he's afraid if the ordinance passes, those who need the drug will have to obtain it illegally.

Esposito goes on to explain that illegal drug dealers have been in the city for decades, and fears if the ordinance passes, cartels will be the only option for the drug’s users.

A second reading will be held at the next City Council meeting, and, if approved, the ordinance would take effect 30 days after that.