The Kern County Planning Commission voted Thursday night to permit and regulate commercial marijuana in Kern County.
Now it sends that recommendation to the Kern County Board of Supervisors for its consideration on Oct. 24.
Commissioner Melissa Poole said the county doesn’t have the resources to enforce a ban on recreational cannabis.
“I’m concerned about the implications of a ban and the ability of code enforcement and law enforcement (to enforce) a ban,” she said.
Commissioner Chad Louie supported a ban and voted against the motion to approve regulation.
“Of absolute primary concern is the public health, safety and welfare,” he said.
And there is one group he was most concerned about.
“That group of people has to be children, teens and young adults,” Louie said.
He said the federal government still considers marijuana a serious drug and it has health risks for children.
But Commissioner Xochitl Garcia rejected Louie’s reasoning.
Trying to say that allowing dispensaries will result in more children getting access to marijuana, she said, “is like saying because we have bars in Kern County we have minors who are under the influence of alcohol.”
Garcia said Kern County can’t just stick its head in the sand and deny the changes Proposition 64 will bring because it doesn’t like marijuana and feels it is morally wrong.
Oil jobs are going away and Kern County needs the more than 8,000 good paying jobs that a regulated commercial marijuana industry are projected to bring to Kern County.
“I think regulation is the best way to protect health, safety and welfare,” Commissioner Chris Babcock said. “If it goes unregulated these fine sheriffs are