ROSAMOND — All marijuana retail outlets in Kern County were required to be closed by May 24 to comply with the county’s ban on all commercial marijuana businesses, but officials say many remain in operation nearly a month past the deadline.
Of the 29 medical marijuana outlets allowed time to orderly close their businesses following the county’s October 2017 ban in the unincorporated areas, 18 were confirmed closed with the inventory removed, staff reported Tuesday to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
Another seven are apparently pretending to be closed with evidence they are still open and operating at random hours and bringing people in a back door, and four have refused to close and are still operating, Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt said.
These 11 businesses are listed for enforcement of the ban and legal actions are being taken, including against the property owners and landlords, she said. Actions are also continuing against illegal businesses.
All county departments are proceeding with enforcing the ban.
“The county does not announce its law enforcement actions,” Oviatt said, so no details or timeline on the enforcement was made public.
In Rosamond, where the problem has been especially acute, Kern County Sheriff’s officials said Thursday that only one shop, AVDC on Sierra Highway, complied with the deadline and completely shuttered its business.
“They’re trying to do it the right way. The others are not,” Sgt. Marcus Moncur said.
A second shop, The Plum Tree, also on Sierra Highway, appears to have closed in the past couple days, he said.
The owner of another Rosamond shop, Vape ’n Bake, told the Board of Supervisors during Tuesday’s meeting that it had closed.
On Friday, more than one marijuana business was seen in Rosamond with an electric “open” sign lit, and people could be seen coming and going at the American Organic Collective on the corner of Locust and Diamond streets.
Enforcement is difficult, as the Rosamond substation is quite busy and understaffed. Shutting down a business using law enforcement would take five or six deputies all day to complete, personnel that is not available, Moncur said.
“That’s what Rosamond is up against. That’s what I’m up against as a supervisor.”