Kern County’s Medicinal Pot Shops Have Closed Their Doors

A complete ban on cannabis sales in unincorporated Kern County took effect Friday, May 24. That means any medical dispensary standing today would be illegal and at risk of being fined and shut down. It leaves thousands of marijuana patients in the lurch, forced to rely on expanding delivery services based in Arvin or California City. The nearest licensed brick and mortar shop is 150 miles away.

“This is the most regressive county I can think of,” California NORML coordinator Ellen Komp told Leafly

Critics, who had tried for months to get the county to reverse course, note veterans make up a large share of the county’s medical marijuana customer base.

Kern County banned medical marijuana sales in 2017. It allowed just over two dozen shops to stay open under “legal non-conforming” status. Their limited immunity ended Friday, forcing them to shut down.

Legalization advocates believe the ramifications could be severe, leading to more black market activity, higher opioid use, and crime in Kern.