4/18/2014

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Kern County judge strikes down pot ordinance Measure G

Kern County judge strikes down pot ordinance Measure G

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A local marijuana ordinance was struck down Friday in Kern County Superior Court.

Judge Kenneth Twissleman invalidated the voter-approved Measure G, which required medical marijuana collectives to be located only on industrial land, along with a host of other restrictions. The shops had to be at least 1 mile away from schools, day care centers, public parks, churches or other marijuana dispensaries.

Kern County tried banning pot shops, but a citizen petition blocked that effort. Measure G was a compromise proposed by the county, and voters approved it in June 2012.

But, advocates of marijuana shops put forth a legal challenge to Measure G, basing their argument on a perceived violation of the California Environmental Quality Act. Their effort was fueled by a desire to not operate under the restrictions of Measure G.

The court last fall found the county failed to do an environmental review before sending the measure to the voters. In that September court hearing, Twissleman tentatively ruled Measure G could stand, but the county would need to come up with a plan on how it will conduct an environmental review.

Friday, the court found the county's plan unacceptable and invalidated the measure.

County officials said they believe the judge's decision will prohibit pot shops from operating anywhere in Kern County.

Attorney Phil Ganong, an advocate of marijuana dispensaries, didn't flatly dispute the county's interpretation of the judge's ruling, but he also called it a victory.

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