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Tuesday March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Kern County
Measure E Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


67,049 votes yes (43.56%)

86,884 votes no (56.44%)

100% of precincts reporting (657/657).

Shall County adopt the ordinance proposed by County, Kern Medicinal Cannabis Retail Store Initiative, allowing and regulating medicinal cannabis in unincorporated area, subject to conditional use permit after public hearing, state licensing requirements, setbacks of 1000 feet from legal medicinal shops, schools, public parks, youth centers, libraries, churches, city limits, or 350 feet from any residence; and levying a perpetual 3.5% general purpose business tax per every $1000.00 of gross income [fiscal impact unknown]?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

The Kern County Board of Supervisors placed this measure on the ballot.

The measure would amend the Kern County Ordinance Code to authorize, regulate, and tax commercial medicinal cannabis activity in the unincorporated area of the County. The measure maintains the current ban on commercial adult use cannabis activity.

The measure authorizes only the retail sales of medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products with a conditional use permit issued by the Kern County Planning Commission after a public hearing. All other commercial cannabis activity remains prohibited. A conditional use permit will be issued for an initial term of three years; the permittee must apply to extend the term. An applicant may appeal the Planning Commission’s denial of a conditional use permit to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

Retail medicinal cannabis stores may only be located in industrial zones. A retail store may not be located within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school, large family day care or day care center, public park, youth center, library, city limit, place of worship, or other legally established retail medicinal cannabis store. A retail store may not be located within 350 feet of the property line of an existing permitted residence or residence under construction. The Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors may require greater setbacks to protect the public from exposure to the retail store.

Retail stores must comply with development and performance standards set by the measure, including those related to lighting, signage, noise control, and hours of operation, as well as any additional standards set by the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors to promote the public health, safety, and welfare. The Planning Commission may waive any of the development and performance standards set by the measure if it determines such waiver will not jeopardize public or private property or the public health, safety, and general welfare.

All approved medicinal cannabis retail stores must comply with state laws and state licensing requirements.

A conditional use permit may be revoked based on the sale of non-medicinal cannabis, controlled substances, or alcohol; failure to require a purchaser to present a valid medicinal cannabis identification card or physician’s recommendation; failure to maintain a state license; non-compliance with permit conditions; or other grounds.

The measure imposes a general tax on any medicinal cannabis retail store operator in the amount of $35 per $1,000 of gross receipts from the sale of medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products in the unincorporated area. The tax revenues may be used for any general governmental purpose and will be allocated by the Board of Supervisors through the budget appropriation process.

The measure affirms that personal cannabis must comply with state law and bans outdoor cultivation for personal use.

Voter approval would be required to increase the tax imposed by the measure. The measure could otherwise be amended by the Board of Supervisors without voter approval.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

You should have a say in how your community provides for medicinal cannabis and the Kern County Initiative will give you that say. Access to legal medicinal cannabis can be done right. A YES vote on the Kern County Medicinal Cannabis initiative is a vote for community involvement to decide where retail medicinal cannabis stores locate and operate in your community. The process of public notification and public hearings for each and every potential retail cannabis store is so important for the safety of our schools, homes, and businesses. Locations in industrial areas with 1,000 foot setbacks from where our children play and learn as well as churches and libraries are the right places. Vote YES for a safer community with State licensed retail stores that follow the laws and charge customers reasonable taxes.

David R. Couch

Chairman, Kern County Board of Supervisors

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