The two measures on the ballot that would have overturned a ban on medical cannabis sales in Kern County both fared poorly in early election returns.
Measure D received 34,784 no votes and 22,987 yes votes with around 51.4 percent of precincts reporting, or 60.2 percent against to 39.8 in favor.
Measure E received 33,383 no votes and 24,207 yes votes with around 51.4 percent of precincts reporting, or around 58 percent against to around 42 percent in favor.
The two medical marijuana measures presented starkly different strategies for legalizing medical cannabis sales in Kern County.
Measure D ended up on the ballot after cannabis advocates led a successful signature campaign.
Medical marijuana dispensaries that were open before Jan. 1 2018 would be allowed to open under Measure D, providing they can provide documentation proving they were a legal business.
County officials wrote Measure E as an alternative to Measure D. The measure aims to provide a “clean slate” for the medical cannabis marketplace in Kern County. Rather than issue blanket permits for dispensaries open before a certain date, the measure would require dispensaries to apply for a conditional use permit from the county before being allowed to open.
Through the conditional use permit, Measure E gives county officials and the community some input into the types of dispensaries that would be allowed to open.
The topic of which dispensaries should be allowed to open under a new medical cannabis system has been hotly debated. Proponents for Measure D have said they do not want the county to be involved in approving dispensaries, afraid the county will pick and choose their preferred choices.
Meanwhile, some have worried Measure D would create a monopoly of its own by shutting out new dispensaries from opening in Kern County.
You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.