ROSAMOND — Five Rosamond marijuana businesses who were allowed to continue to operate for a limited time following the county ban in order to recoup their investments are seeking another six-month extension from the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
They already had received one six-month extension from the original November 2018 date for closure.
The Board will consider the requests as appeals to earlier Planning and Natural Resources Department decisions during Tuesday’s meeting, beginning at 2 p.m. in the county offices at 1115 Truxton Ave. in Bakersfield.
Planning staff has recommended against allowing all five businesses to continue their operations beyond the May 24 date, according to the staff report.
Kern County banned all commercial marijuana business activities in the unincorporated areas in October 2017, but a handful of medical use dispensaries were given time for an orderly shut down, with certain conditions they had to meet. Most have not met those conditions.
Marijuana outlets have long been an issue in Rosamond, where they have proliferated, particularly in the traditional downtown business district along Diamond Street and Sierra Highway.
The five Rosamond businesses in question are: Vape and Bake, 2689 Sierra Highway, Unit B; AVDC, 1733 Sierra Highway; Tanner Vest Collective, 2753 Diamond St.; The Plum Tree Collective, 2873 Sierra Highway; and Organic Health Solutions, 1315 Rosamond Blvd., Suite A.
Businesses like these that were allowed to stay open long enough for an orderly closure were considered “legal non-conforming” businesses because they were established under an earlier ordinance and prior to the county’s May 2016 moratorium on new or relocated dispensaries.
The ordinance banning marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas has provisions for these businesses previously deemed legal to have a year to close down, as required by federal law to allow the businesses to recoup their investment following the change in laws.
“Amortization does not mean you get to stay in business forever. Amortization means that we give them a period of time to make smart business decisions to wind down their business and recoup whatever investment they made,” Kern County Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt told residents during a Rosamond Municipal Advisory Committee meeting in December.
While allowed to continue operating during an orderly shut down, these outlets also were required to “get legal,” she said, by obtaining building permits and state licenses. The county started this process of advising the businesses what they had to do in December 2017, complete with a checklist.
However, the businesses appealing the decision to the Board of Supervisors this week did not acquire the necessary building permits or licenses, according to the staff report.
Without the building permit, they can not apply for a state license. Without a state license, the state has the power to close them down as well, Oviatt said.
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